Vladimir Putin has accused the United States of launching a new arms race. The Russian president used his address to the State Council, one of his last keynote speeches before he steps down, to criticise NATO expansion and US plans for a missile defence shield in eastern Europe.
Putin looks to have laid down the course his country will follow under Dimitry Medvedev, the man he has endorsed to replace him as president.
He said: “It is already clear that a new arms race is being unleashed in the world. We must not allow ourselves to be drawn into this.”
In the speech to ministers, regional governors and elected representatives, Putin said Russia had made great strides since he came to power eight years ago, but now was the time to reduce its dependence on energy exports, be more robust in the global economy and stand up to the West.