Russia does not want to enter a costly new arms race with the United States, a top Kremlin aide said Wednesday, after President Vladimir Putin said it was boosting its nuclear arsenal.
“Russia is trying to react to possible threats with some sort of means but that’s it,” Yury Ushakov, Putin’s top foreign policy aide, told a briefing.
“We are against any arms race because it naturally weakens our economic capabilities,” Ushakov said.
He declined to comment when asked about the possibility of a direct military conflict between Russia and the West.
Putin on Tuesday rattled the West by saying that Russia would add more than 40 new intercontinental ballistic missiles to its nuclear arsenal this year.
“If someone puts some of our territories under threat, that means we will have to direct our armed forces and modern strike power at those territories, from where the threat emanates,” Putin said.
US Secretary of State John Kerry blasted the announcement and said nobody wanted to return to a “Cold War status”.
Russia and the West are currently locked in their worst standoff since the collapse of the Soviet Union because of the conflict in Ukraine.
Moscow has lashed out at reported US plans to deploy heavy weapons to its jittery NATO allies in eastern Europe, with Putin saying that the US-led alliance is “coming to our borders”.