Russia not moving missiles near NATO allies: Putin

2nd December 2010, Comments 0 comments

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that Russia was not moving tactical nuclear weapons near NATO allies, and pointed the finger back at the West for escalating tensions on the issue.

Asked in an interview on CNN's "Larry King Live" whether Moscow was moving the missiles, Putin said: "It's not us who are moving forward our missiles to your territory."

The Wall Street Journal said on Tuesday, citing US officials who described the movements, that Russia as recently as several months ago was moving tactical nuclear warheads to within miles of its borders with NATO countries.

Western powers, Putin said, are "planning to mount missiles at the vicinity of our borders, of our territory" in a bid to secure against the threat of Iran's alleged nuclear drive.

"Such a threat, as of now, does not exist," Putin pointed out.

The potential for missiles being hosted near Russian borders "certainly... worries us. And we are obliged to take some actions in response" if that occurs, the prime minister added.

On Tuesday Russian President Dmitry Medvedev warned that failure by Russia and the West to agree on a new missile shield for Europe could spark "a new round of the arms race" that would see Moscow deploy new weapons systems.

Putin in the interviewed downplayed Medvedev's rhetoric, saying "no" to a question of another arms race, but adding in the event of additional threats to Russian security in the future, Moscow "will have to ensure her own security through different means... against the new threats created along our border."

© 2010 AFP

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