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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russia Plans New Weapons Due to NATO

NATO airstrikes on Yugoslavia are forcing Russia to step up the development of new weapons and make it unlikely that the existing arsenal would be reduced soon, a top official said Wednesday.

"The war in Europe makes us work most seriously on the creation of new weapons," Deputy Prime Minister Ilya Klebanov was quoted as saying by Itar-Tass.

Russia regards NATO as a serious threat, and raids against Yugoslavia have prompted calls for increasing defense spending and developing the military.

"We should regain the positions that the Soviet Union used to have in this area and that Russia has largely lost," said Klebanov, who is responsible for defense.

However, it was unclear how Russia could significantly step up its weapons program, because the country is broke and has trouble maintaining even its existing stockpile of arms.

Klebanov also said that Russia may have to put its disarmament plans on hold because of the NATO strikes.

The United States has long been urging Russia's Communist-dominated parliament to ratify the START-II arms reduction treaty. But the legislature's resistance appeared to grow sharply following the airstrikes against first Iraq, then Yugoslavia.

"Paradise has not been created in the world yet and apparently it's too early to disarm, although we really want to do that," Klebanov said.