Moscow's military superiority unparalleled - Putin
Moscow's military superiority stands unparallel to any other country, Russian President Vladimir Putin said this Friday.
Speaking against a backdrop of escalation of tensions between Russia and the West over Ukraine on Friday, Putin said Russia will never yield to foreign pressure.
"No one should have the illusion that they can gain military superiority over Russia, put any kind of pressure on it,” Putin stated.
He added that the Russian military would always have an "adequate answer for any such adventures."
The Russian president said his country would conduct a military modernization program envisaging the deployment of hundreds of new combat jets, missiles and other weapons.
Russia has increased its military budget by 33 percent to about 3.3 trillion rubles (some $50 billion) this year despite an economic recession caused by low oil prices and Western sanctions against Moscow over Ukraine.
Russia has been hit with a series of sanctions by the US and the European Union, which accuse Moscow of supporting pro-Russia forces in eastern Ukraine. Russia categorically denies the allegation.
Donetsk and Lugansk are two mainly Russian-speaking regions in eastern Ukraine, which were hit by deadly clashes between pro-Russia forces and the Ukrainian army after Kiev launched military operations in April last year to crush pro-Russia protests there.
Hopes were revived after leaders of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France agreed on a truce deal last Thursday in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. However, clashes have continued with the two sides claiming that they are committed to implementing the ceasefire.
The fighting has taken a heavy toll on thousands of people. More than 5,500 people have died and some 12,200 wounded in the conflict, the UN says. Around 1.5 million people have been also forced from their homes over the past months of turmoil.
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