MOSCOW — Russia's military modernization program doesn't mean that the nation intends to engage in an arms race, President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday.
Speaking during a meeting with the top military officers and arms industries officials, Putin said that the ongoing military upgrade is a compensation for the years of insufficient funding that followed the Soviet collapse.
He added that "we have no intention to pull into some arms race, let alone try to catch up with or overtake somebody."
Putin said that while the Russian defense industries have succeeded in increasing output, some production targets haven't been met. He also emphasized the need to continue efforts to replace imported weapons components with locally-produced ones.
The gathering was the third meeting on military issues in as many days, reflecting the close attention the Russian leader was paying to the army's modernization amid tensions with the West over the crisis in Ukraine.
On Tuesday, Putin said that Russia would counter NATO's U.S.-led missile defense with new strike weapons capable of piercing the shield.