MOSCOW -- Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that his country's recent ballistic missile tests were in response to NATO actions.
Putin said that Russia was considering withdrawing from the Conventional Forces in Europe treaty because of the United States' planned deployment of missile defense systems in Eastern Europe and the acceptance of some EU members of that plan, RIA Novosti reported.
"There is no need to fear Russia's actions, they are not aggressive. ... They are aimed at maintaining balance in the world order, and are extremely important for maintaining peace and security globally," Putin said at a news conference that followed a Kremlin meeting with the president of Greece.
"We conducted a test of a new strategic ballistic missile with multiple warheads, and of a new cruise missile, and will continue to improve our resources," Putin said.
Moscow has strongly objected to the missile defense system plans, which U.S. officials have said is intended to provide protection from Iran and North Korea.
"Certain members of the international community wish to dictate their will to everyone despite the norms of international communication and law," Putin said, Interfax reported. "We think that this is dangerous and harmful."
Copyright © 2007, by United Press International. All Rights Reserved.