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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Meeting on Developing the Armed Forces

The Kremlin, Moscow

September 11, 2008

PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA DMITRY MEDVEDEV: Our meeting today is devoted to the development of the Armed Forces.

First of all, today we are going to discuss the acquisition of new weapons, creating new types of weapons and, of course, discuss this issue in its entirety, bearing in mind the upgrading of the image of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in the coming years. We need modern, effective Armed Forces, and this is one of the key tasks of the state in accordance with documents that have been adopted earlier.

Some time ago a special decision was taken about a substantial raise in payments to the best officers who are in combat-ready troops or have adequately proved themselves during military exercises. This was a very important decision, and now we must concentrate on upgrading our weapons. We will do so consistently, carefully, and on the basis of considerations and problems that have emerged in recent times. There is no doubt that these decisions will be affected by the crisis in the Caucasus, Georgia’s aggression and its continuing militarisation. In any case, this puts the task which I now formulated among the highest state priorities over the next few years.

Of course we will need to generally improve the combat preparation and training of our Armed Forces. We will conduct exercises, carry out visits, and engage in these activities not only in the Russian Federation, where we are already doing them on a regular basis, but also in countries which are among our closest allies – I mean our partners in the CSTO. We will work on these issues with other states that want to expand their military and military-technical cooperation with the Russian Federation. I have therefore decided to have our strategic aviation fly to Venezuela at the invitation of the leadership there. There will also be naval exercises, a maritime component, and exercises will be conducted elsewhere as well. The Armed Forces of the Russian Federation will clearly benefit from this and we will be sure to carry it out.

The last thing that I would like to say at the beginning of our meeting today, at the beginning of our work, is that today is the 11th of September, a special day, a day when a terrorist act occurred in the United States of America. This is a sad day for the United States and for all countries that suffer from terrorism. And I would like, first of all, to say once again that, unfortunately, the terrorist threat remains real. Humankind has not overcome this challenge and the Russian Federation is ready for coordinated, full-value cooperation with the United States and with other countries in combating terrorism. We believe this is our top priority and we believe that this is much more useful for the United States than to develop relations with rotten regimes engaged in military adventures. Thank you.

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