Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that NATOs missile-defense shield in Romania and Poland is threatening peace in Europe and told a new arms race may emerge between his country and its Cold War foe.

Poland broke ground on the northern wing of the anti-ballistic missile shield Friday, a day after Romania inaugurated rocket batteries to the south. The two complexes have fueled antipathy between the alliance and Russia, which are in the deepest confrontation since the collapse of Communism after the Kremlin annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.

Now after the placement of these missile defense elements, we have to think how to neutralize security threats for the security of the Russian Federation, Putin said at a meeting with defense officials in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi. The people who are making such decisions should know that until now they have lived in soothe, convenience and security.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is consolidating its presence in eastern Europe after Russia forcibly changed borders in the region and because it continues to intimidate its neighbours, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in Romania on Thursday. Putin said NATOs missile defense bases and increased troop presence were extra steps toward a shakeup of the international security system and a news arms race in which he told Russia wouldnt take part.

Large-Scale Conflicts

We wont to be withdrawn into this race, well run our own route, Putin said. Well do everything necessary from our side to ensure and preserve the strategic balance of forces that is the most reliable ensure to avoid starting large-scale military conflicts.

Poland started constructing an installation at the former military airport in Redzikowo near the Baltic coast on Friday. A counterpart to the base in the southern Romanian village of Deveselu, the site will be able to host about 300 U.S. troops in 2018. That follows ramped-up defense spending among Baltic NATO members Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, who plan to seek further increases in NATO troop rotations at the alliances July summit in Warsaw.

While Russia has repeatedly complained about the shield, which Putin told was for offensive purposes, NATOs members have stressed that its exclusively a defense against potential assaults from so-called rascal countries, particularly Iran.

NATO isnt looking to start a new Cold War, Stoltenberg said. He added that the Aegis rockets, defensive weapons that cant carry warheads and are designed to collide with and destroy ballistic missile outside of the ambiance, arent technically able to shoot down long-range missiles from Russia. Poland and Romania joined NATO along with other eastern European states a decade after the collapse of their communist-era overlord, the Soviet Union.

Today is a great day for Polands make further efforts to get the highest possible military security guarantees, Polish Defense Minister Antoni Macierewicz said in Redzikowo Friday. Those endeavours have never been directed at anyone, but they aim to ensure we can live and develop in peace after years of a hard regime.

Russia is also stepping up its defenses and plans to create three new military divisions by the end of the year, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on May 4. Putin has amassed forces, including short-range ballistic missile and anti-ship, air-defense, and electronic weaponry, in the Kaliningrad exclave that cuts into Polands Baltic Sea coast, Lt. General Ben Hodges, the commander of U.S. Army forces-out in Europe, said in December.

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