MOSCOW, Sept. 11 (UPI) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin called for an expansion of the country's military capability, including its nuclear capability.
In personally taking over Russia's Military-Industrial Commission, a government agency with vast responsibility for the purchase and maintenance of defense weapons and equipment, Putin put himself in charge of an office, established in 2006, which formerly answered to him.
"From now on, everybody will complain directly to Mr. Putin, and he will make unique decisions," said Alexander Golts, a Moscow-based military analyst.
Putin told officials at a Kremlin meeting Wednesday, discussing a $560 billion, 12-year overhaul of Russia's military, "There are a lot of new threats appearing. As you know, not long ago, a decision was taken on building up NATO forces in Eastern Europe," adding Russia was "forced, absolutely forced, to take appropriate measures in response."
His remarks were detailed in a Kremlin statement, and were made five days after NATO announced a "spearhead force" that could quickly deploy in Eastern Europe. Moscow has warned in the past it will tailor its defense doctrine in response to NATO actions.
He added Russia's nuclear deterrent will remain an important part of his defense strategy, saying, "First of all, we are talking about creating a rational series of assault capabilities, including maintaining a guaranteed solution to the task of nuclear deterrence."
Prior to the meeting, Russia announced a successful test, after a failed test last year, of a submarine-launched intercontinental ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.