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Russian missiles

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United Press International
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin greets the audience at the United Russia party's congress in St. Petersburg on November 21, 2009. UPI/Anatoli Zhdanov
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin greets the audience at the United Russia party's congress in St. Petersburg on November 21, 2009. UPI/Anatoli Zhdanov | License Photo

VLADIVOSTOK, Russia, Dec. 29 (UPI) -- A day after his country tested a long-range missile, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said he is seeking information on U.S. defense plans.

Putin, speaking Tuesday in Vladivostok in eastern Russia, said U.S. plans for defensive shields forces Moscow to develop additional offensive weapons to keep a "balance." He said if the United States had a strategic edge it may become more "aggressive."

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The United States and Russia are in negotiations to find a successor for the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty of 1991. That agreement expired Dec. 5.

Despite U.S. President Barack Obama's scrapping U.S. plans for a defensive missile shield in Eastern Europe, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said Moscow would develop new nuclear missiles and launchers. Russian forces launched a missile Dec. 10 that caused a mysterious blue glow over Norway when it failed but said a test launch of long-range missile Monday was a success.

The United States has taken the tack of working more on defensive-style weapons, generally said to stop attacks from "rouge nations" but that stance has Putin concerned.

"By building such an umbrella over themselves, our partners could feel themselves fully secure and will do whatever they want, which upsets the balance," he said Tuesday, suggesting that allows for "aggressiveness immediately (to increase) in real politics and economics."