MOSCOW - President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday Russia must maintain its nuclear deterrence because of what he said were a growing number of possible security threats.
With ties between Moscow and the West tense over the crisis in Ukraine, Putin signed a decree that gives him more control over a commission that oversees the defence industry and made a new call for Russia to become less reliant on Western parts.
He said NATO was using rhetoric over the Ukraine crisis to "resuscitate itself" and noted that Russia had warned repeatedly that it would have to respond to such moves.
Shortly before he spoke, Russia carried out a successful test of its new submarine-launched Bulava intercontinental missile, which can carry a nuclear warhead.
"We need a reliable and complete assessment of the potential threats to Russia's military security. For each of these threats a sufficient, adequate response should be found," he told a Kremlin meeting of government officials from the defence sector.
"First of all, we are talking about creating a rational series of assault capabilities including maintaining a guaranteed solution to the task of nuclear deterrence."
He said Russia must ensure it develops high-precision weapons in the next few years but added: "Someone might want to start a new arms race. We are not going to take part in that, of course." "
Russia is slated to spend over 20 trillion rubles ($536.81 billion) on the modernization of its army, which is still largely reliant on Soviet-era weapons and arms technologies.
Putin reiterated that Moscow would find ways to replace defence industry imports, lost because of European Union and US sanctions imposed in the Ukraine crisis.
"We are not planning to intentionally stop cooperation with our foreign partners...(but) our industry should be able to produce critically important equipment, components and materials," he said.