( RIA Novosti ) - Russia will need a strong and efficient army to ensure national security, but it should not be oversized, President Vladimir Putin said on Monday.
"We need the quantity of military equipment and the strength of the Armed Forces sufficient enough to ensure Russia's national security, but no more than that," Putin said at a meeting with defense industry experts.
Russia has cut its Armed Forces to about 1.1 million personnel, but military spending has increased dramatically under President Putin. According to the budget, defense spending in 2008 will grow another 16.3% from 2007 to 956 billion rubles ($36.8 billion), and is set to total 1.184 trillion rubles ($45.5 billion) by 2010.
The president said that Russia would focus on the development of all components of the nuclear triad, including ballistic missiles, strategic aviation and nuclear submarines, but will also continue to modernize its arsenal of conventional weaponry.
Russia has recently resumed patrol flights of strategic bombers and continues building advanced nuclear submarines. It has also successfully tested a number of new and existing ballistic missiles.
"If we conduct peaceful policies and avoid prying into the affairs of others, this [ Russia's defense potential] will be enough; but at the same time, our military should be able to stop others form poking their snotty noses into our affairs," Putin reiterated on Monday.