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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Putin Vows to Increase Spy Activity

President Vladimir Putin vowed Wednesday to strengthen Russia's military capability and intensify spying abroad in response to U.S. plans to build missile defense sites and deploy troops in Eastern Europe.

"The situation in the world and internal political interests require the Foreign Intelligence Service to increase its capabilities permanently, primarily in the field of information and analytical support for the country's leadership," Putin said at a meeting with senior military and security officers in the Kremlin, Interfax reported.

The Foreign Intelligence Service is a successor to the KGB.

Putin did not identify specific targets, but officials in the United States and Britain have said recently that Moscow has intensified its spying in those countries.

Putin said U.S. plans to station troops in Eastern Europe and Washington's intention to base missile defense sites in Poland and the Czech Republic pose security challenges for Russia.

Washington says the facilities are needed to protect the United States and Europe from missiles from Iran or other rogue states.

Putin has proposed that the United States use a radar base in Azerbaijan for missile defense. U.S. officials have questioned whether the facility is technically compatible with U.S. systems.