Russia is not interested in having an arms race with the United States, but it would not hesitate to pounce if there is any possible threat, a top foreign policy aide to President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday. The comments by the aide, Yury Ushakov, came one day after Putin declared Russia would get 40 new intercontinental ballistic missiles in 2015.
“We are against any arms race because it naturally weakens our economic capabilities,” Iran's Press TV quoted Ushakov as saying. “Russia is trying to react to possible threats with some sort of means, but that's it.” He said Russia was against an arms race “in principle.” Ushakov was talking to reporters in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Meanwhile, the Economic Times reported that Putin would meet with the prime minister of Greece on Friday. Ushakov said the two leaders would discuss a number of issues, including the Turkish Stream gas pipeline.
According to Ushakov, Putin also will meet with Saudi Arabia's defense minister to talk about bilateral cooperation on issues such as energy, and will meet with the chief executive of Royal Dutch Shell as well. Putin also will talk with the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency about Iran's nuclear program, Ushakov said.
Putin announced at a military fair near Moscow on Tuesday that the Russian army soon would receive new ballistic missiles that are capable of piecing the “most sophisticated anti-missile systems in the world.”
The United States and its allies have been accusing Russia of promoting political unrest in eastern Ukraine. While Russia refuses to acknowledge having any influence on the region's pro-Russian separatists, the conflict in the region has already caused more than 6,400 casualties. Russia claims it is only supporting the ethnic Russian population who has been suffering from suppression from the Ukrainian government.
Putin earlier said that Russia would use its armed forces to protect any of its territories from a threat. Ushakov refused to comment on whether Russia had considered the possibility of a military conflict with the U.S. over Ukraine.