Russia can't give up on development new offensive weapons systems to counter US missile defences and prevent Americans from feeling they can "do whatever they want," Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Tuesday.
"To preserve the balance, we must develop offensive weapons systems, not missiles defence systems as the United States is doing," Putin was quoted by state news agencies as saying while on a working visit to Russia's far east region.
"The problems of missile defence and offensive arms are very closely linked," Putin said, according to ITAR-TASS.
"By building such an umbrella over themselves our partners could feel themselves fully secure and will do whatever they want, which upsets the balance and aggressiveness immediately increases in real politics and economics."
In September, President Barack Obama announced the United States would drop plans pushed by his predecessor, George W. Bush, but fiercely opposed by Moscow to deploy parts of its new missile shield in former East bloc states Poland and the Czech Republic.
Obama however made clear Washington would continue to develop new ballistic missile defences in other ways and locations.
Russia cautiously welcomed the shift initially but said the new configuration would require further study and information from the United States.
Putin's comments -- coming on the heels of a similar statement by President Dmitry Medvedev -- marked a toughening of Moscow's stance on strategic security relations with the United States.
"Let the Americans hand over all their information on missile defence and we are ready to hand over all the information on offensive weapons systems," Putin said.
Putin's remarks also come as the former Cold War foes remain in negotiations to replace the expired START nuclear disarmament treaty, which sets limits on both sides' nuclear arsenals.
AFP has contributed to the report.
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