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“Danger of militarization of the Arctic exists”

Vladimir Putin speaking to the Defense Ministry Board. Photo courtesy of Kremlin.ru

In an unusual hard-talk President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday said Russia’s enemies are making methodical attempts to rock the strategic balance and pointed to the Arctic as an area where the danger of militarization exists.

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Putin made his speech at the expanded meeting of the Defense Ministry Board in Moscow, reviewing the ministry’s work last year and examined plans for the Armed Forces’ continued development.

“Methodical attempts are made to rock the strategic balance in one way or another. The US has practically started the second stage of its plan to set up a global missile defense system and there are probes into the possibility of NATO’s further eastward expansion. The danger of militarization of the Arctic exists,” Vladimir Putin said according to the transcripts posted at the presidential portal.

Russia has earlier communicated that the Arctic is an area with no military tension

In his hardliner speech on Wednesday Putin urged Russia’s armed forces to continue reforms and radical rearmament. 

“Our task - to create a mobile, well-equipped armed forces ready to respond promptly and adequately to any potential threats to peace, to protect our citizens, our allies, the future of our nation and state,” Vladimir Putin said.

Russia is currently increasing its spending on military hardware. 

“By 2015, the proportion of the new generation of weapons should be 30 percent, and by 2020 to reach 70-100 percent,” Putin said.