You are viewing the content for Wednesday 1 February 2006

Missiles immune to any defence systems, says Putin

RUSSIAN President Vladimir Putin boasted yesterday that Russia has missiles capable of penetrating any missile defence system in the world.

"Russia ... has tested missile systems that no one in the world has," he told a news conference.

"These missile systems don’t represent a response to a missile defence system, but they are immune to that. They are hypersonic and capable of changing their flight path."

Mr Putin said the new missiles were capable of carrying nuclear warheads. He wouldn’t say whether the Russian military had already commissioned any such missiles.

He said he had shown the working principles of the missile systems to French President Jacques Chirac during a visit to a Russian military facility.

During a press conference, Mr Putin also attacked the government of Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili for its criticism of Moscow over last week’s gas pipeline explosion, which resulted in a week-long cut-off of Russian gas from the Caucasus Mountains nation.

And the president reiterated his criticism of foreign-supported non-governmental organisations, saying NGOs should not be controlled by what he called "puppeteers" abroad.

Mr Putin stressed the importance of non-profit groups, but said they should not be used as instruments in other states’ foreign policy.

The foreign security service last week accused four British diplomats of spying and said one of them had provided money for non-government organisations - an espionage scandal dismissed by Kremlin critics and rights activists as part of a campaign to discredit NGOs following the passage of a controversial law that severely restricts their activities and financing.