(AFP) -Russian President Vladimir Putin says he will reduce its military spending during his new term as the leader of the country, a day after he was re-elected in a presidential election with a landslide.
“We have plans to decrease our defense spending both this year and next. But this will not lead to any decline in the country’s defense capacity,” said Putin during a meeting with other presidential candidates in capital Moscow on Monday.
He added that “We will not allow for any sort of arms race.”
Putin’s comments come as ties between Moscow and Washington have plummeted to levels not seen since the Cold War due to the two countries’ disputes over the crises in Ukraine and Syria and after US officials accused Russia of meddling in the 2016 US presidential election.
Since September 2015, Russia has been carrying out airstrikes in support of Syria’s ground troops and has helped them recapture swathes of territory from Takfiri terrorists.
In his best election performance ever, Putin, 65, secured nearly 77 percent of the ballots cast in Sunday’s presidential election, according to the official results released earlier today.
Putin, whose new election win will extend his total time in office to nearly a quarter of a century, until 2024, said elsewhere in his remarks that he aims to focus his new term on “domestic policy issues” and strengthening the country’s “defense capabilities.”
“The main thing that we are going to do is of course, first of all the internal agenda, it is first of all ensuring the growth of the Russian Federation economy, and making it innovative, this is development in the sphere of healthcare, education, industrial output and as I’ve said before of infrastructure and other areas crucial for moving the country forward and lifting the standard of living for our citizens” the Russian leader further said.