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Putin hints at "asymmetrical response" to U.S. anti-missile efforts

(Xinhua)

08:23, February 23, 2012

MOSCOW, Feb. 22 (Xinhua) -- Russia could respond " asymmetrically" to the U.S. anti-missile efforts, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Wednesday.

Speaking in a meeting with top-ranking military officers in the Moscow region, Putin accused the United States of attempting to destroy the global strategic balance with its anti-missile system.

"What shall we do? We have to either build our own anti-missile defense or give some asymmetrical answers," Putin said.

The prime minister noted that Russia would opt for developing its air defense and anti-missile defense systems, building early warning stations and creating first-strike forces which cannot be countered by the existing anti-missiles.

"Now, Topol-M and Yars are new-generation missiles. One can say, we are a bit ahead of our American partners in this term," Putin said.

However, he also admitted the U.S. has been far ahead of Russia in the area of powerful precise weapons.

"We are working in this direction," he added.

Putin also said that development of strategic nuclear forces, air and space forces, radio and communication combat systems and others would be a priority during the rearmament of Russian forces.

Moscow has long opposed the deployment of NATO missile defense facilities near its borders and wanted legally binding guarantees from the United States and NATO that the missile defense shield is not targeting Russia.

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