Russian President Vladimir Putin (C), accompanied by Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu (L), visits the Peter the Great Strategic Missile Forces Academy in Balashikha outside Moscow on December 22, 2017. / AFP / SPUTNIK / Mikhail KLIMENTYEV
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Russian President Vladimir Putin Friday accused the U.S. of violating a landmark Cold War-era nuclear arms pact and harboring aggressive intentions, and pledged to fend off any potential threats at a fraction of the U.S. cost.Putin noted that the Pentagon's budget of about $700 billion next year dwarfs the Russian military budget of some $47 billion.Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that a massive arms modernization program has allowed the military to commission 182 intercontinental ballistic missiles, over 1,000 aircraft, more than 3,200 tanks and other armored vehicles and more than 150 navy ships over the past five years.Shoigu said that the military has killed over 60,000 militants, including 2,840 Russian citizens during its campaign in Syria.Shoigu said that the military has withdrawn 36 combat planes and four helicopters from Syria along with a battalion of military police, field engineers, military doctors and special forces units earlier this month in line with Putin's orders.
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