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Russia’s weapons are “clearly superior” to NATO’s, says Putin


Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday claimed his country’s weapons are “clearly superior” to those from NATO members.

“If we compare modern NATO armaments, the armaments of the last period of the Soviet era, in some respects are inferior, but not always,” Putin said, according to Russian state media outlet TASS. “And if you take our newest armaments, they are clearly superior to everything. This is an obvious fact.”

The Russian leader’s comments were made during a meeting with arms industry workers in Tula, Russia, where he also once again attempted to justify his war with Ukraine. Putin claimed that he ordered the invasion to protect Russian speakers in Ukraine as well as to thwart what he claimed were threats made by the United States and NATO on Russia’s security.

Speaking about Russia’s defense industry, Putin said it “demonstrates a very good both pace and quality of work,” and the superior weapons it produces includes “missile equipment, armored vehicles and everything that is used on the battlefield.”

Vladimir Putin speaks in Tula, Russia
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday delivers a speech at a forum in Tula, Russia. During the address, Putin claimed Russia’s weapons are “clearly superior” to arms from NATO countries.

GETTY IMAGES

Putin also touted what he claimed were some positive effects the war in Ukraine has had on Russia’s economy, namely the creation of more than half a million new defense industry jobs.

“In the last 1 1/2 years alone, 520,000 new jobs have been created in defense,” Putin said.

Newsweek reached out to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs via email on Friday night for further comment.

Agence France-Presse (AFP) noted Moscow has increased arms production to meet the accelerated pace of its offensives in recent months, providing somewhat of a financial boost to an economy that’s otherwise been hit hard by Western sanctions.

In September, the Russian finance ministry’s draft budget for 2024 showed defense expenditures soared by 68 percent compared to 2023. The budget also included a new allocation of $111 billion for national defense.

The already high tensions between Russia and NATO have seemingly escalated in recent weeks after the alliance’s announcement last month of its largest military exercise in more than 35 years. Dubbed “Steadfast Defender 2024,” the drills launched on January 22 and will ultimately include participation of around 90,000 military personnel from 31 NATO allies and Sweden.

NATO officials have said the exercise will test the allies’ ability to quickly deploy forces and test new defense plans. Military analysts have speculated Steadfast Defender is meant to prepare alliance members for the potential of a future Russian invasion on NATO territory.

When asked about the exercise this week, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters Russia considers NATO a “threat” that it is “constantly taking appropriate measures to deal with.”