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Jun 30, 8:05 AM EDT

Putin says Russia won't enter arms race with NATO

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AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev

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MOSCOW (AP) -- President Vladimir Putin says that Russia will respond to NATO's military buildup near its borders, but will not be drawn into an arms race.

Putin said Thursday that NATO underlined its anti-Russian intentions by deploying forces in Poland and the Baltics and building missile defense sites.

Russia has described NATO's U.S.-led missile shield as a top threat, rejecting Washington's claims that the shield is intended to fend off the Iranian missile threat. Putin said that the U.S. is developing the missile defense despite last year's nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers.

Speaking to Russian diplomats, he said that NATO's action undermines military parity. He said that Russia will defend itself without entering a costly arms race.

Putin also said that Russia wants a quick settlement of the Ukrainian crisis.

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