Russia must develop new offensive weapons systems to counter U.S. missile defenses and prevent Americans from feeling they can "do whatever they want," Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Dec. 29.
"To preserve the balance, we must develop offensive weapons systems, not missiles defense 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 defense 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."
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 defense, 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. START expired Dec. 5.