Feb 27 2013, 3:10pm CST | by Luigi Lugmayr
Speaking Wednesday at a meeting with senior military staff at the Russian defense ministry, Putin said: "Systematic attempts are being made from the outside to disrupt the strategic balance in this or that manner.
"In fact, the second stage of the US global missile defense system is being launched, and the possibilities for further NATO eastward expansion are being explored."
"The danger of the militarisation of the Arctic also persists," he added.
Putin said those challenges affect Russia's national interests and determine the priorities of its foreign policy.
Moscow has consistently opposed NATO's US-led missile defense programme for Europe, claiming it undermines Russia's nuclear deterrent. NATO maintains the programme is aimed at emerging nuclear weapon states such as Iran and North Korea.
-- IANS/RIA Novosti
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