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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

NATO Looms Large in Military Planning

NATO's rising power and the increased role the military will play in shaping the foreign policy of countries around the world will figure prominently in Russia's new military doctrine, the Security Council said Monday.

The new doctrine, which will replace a strategic blueprint adopted in 2000, will also take into account advances in military technologies.

The Security Council announced its plans in a statement posted on its web site. The statement did not say when the doctrine would be completed.

As recently as last year, senior military figures denied that there were plans to replace the old doctrine. But last summer it was reported that work had begun on a new one.

The new doctrine will inaugurate a "new thinking that makes it possible to define threats to Russia and that spells out who are our allies and who are our enemies and in what contexts," a source in the armed forces' General Staff told Nezavisimaya Gazeta at the time when news media leaked that a change in policy was afoot.

President Vladimir Putin and his senior aides have attacked NATO for plans to deploy weapons systems and bases in new member states. They also have lambasted U.S. plans to install parts of a missile defense shield in Eastern Europe.

On Monday, Russian commanders again attacked the U.S. missile defense plans.

Lieutenant General Igor Khvorov, one of the senior officials who oversees the nation's nuclear forces, told news agencies that Russian long-range bombers could easily destroy radar stations and other facilities that are expected to be part of the defense shield.

"Since the missile defense facilities are weakly protected, any number of our aircraft are capable of electronically jamming their systems or simply destroying them," said Khvorov, who heads the Strategic Command's 37th air division.

Khvorov's air division operates the Tu-160 and Tu-95 long-range bombers, which are armed with nuclear-tipped cruise missiles and conventional weapons. Two Tu-160s are slated for upgrades in 2007, Khvorov said, Interfax reported.

U.S. officials have repeatedly sought to assure Moscow that the planned defense shield would target intercontinental ballistic missiles launched by rogue states, but Russian officials remains skeptical.

Former Air Force commander Pyotr Deinekin told Interfax on Monday that he believed components of the U.S. system in Eastern Europe would be capable of destroying Russian missiles.

Also Monday, the head of the Air Force, Vladimir Mikhailov, said Russia should be prepared to fight future wars in space. Mikhailov said the military's air force and space divisions should be prepared to fight side by side by 2015.