Putin threatens to aim missiles at Ukraine
The Russian president warns of a new arms race over Ukraine's NATO membership and possible hosting of US missile defense shield.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has threatened to point the country's missiles at neighboring Ukraine if the country joins NATO and allows the United States to deploy its missile defense shield within its borders. Coming days after a hawkish speech in which Mr. Putin blamed the United States for sparking a new arms race, Putin's comments were the latest sign of rising tensions with the West as Russia reasserts itself on the world stage.Skip to next paragraph
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Yushchenko, for whom joining the Western alliance is a priority, responded by asserting Ukraine's independence to act as it pleases, while seeking to soothe Russian worries, reported England's Daily Telegraph.
The Russian threat comes days after Putin warned of a new arms race, provoked by Western military expansion in eastern European countries traditionally within Russia's sphere of influence.
In a televised speech last Friday, less than a month before the election that will see Putin hand power to his chosen successor, First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, the outgoing President warned against interference in Russia's neighborhood, reports the International Herald Tribune:
Putin has long opposed the expansion of the US missile defense system. The system has been primarily aimed at threats from states such as North Korea and Iran, and not Russia, according to a 2007 presentation overview by the United States Missile Defense Agency. The project's stated strategic objective is to