By RFE RL
(RFE/RL) — President Vladimir Putin says Russia will counter NATO’s missile-defense program by deploying new offensive weapons that can penetrate the shield.
Putin told Russian defense officials on November 10 that the United States is trying to “neutralize” Moscow’s strategic nuclear deterrent by developing defenses against Russia’s ballistic missiles.
He said Washington is attempting to gain a “decisive military superiority” over Russia but that Moscow will developing “strike systems capable of piercing any missile defenses.”
Putin said companies in the “military-industrial complex” in the last three years “have created and successfully tested a number of prospective weapons systems that are capable of performing combat missions in a layered missile-defense system.”
The statement comes amid a major strain in relations between Washington and Moscow that have plunged to their lowest point since the Cold War because of differences over the Ukraine crisis.
Russia has complained for several years about NATO’s U.S.-led missile shield, which Washington has said is a defense against an attack from a rogue state like Iran or North Korea.
But Putin said that “regrettably, our concerns and cooperation proposals haven’t been taken into account.”