“We are not going to fight against anyone. We are going to create conditions so that nobody wants to fight against us,” Putin said in an interview with the state-run Tass news agency, a part of which was released Monday.
The three-hour long interview marks Putin's 20 years in power and is being divided into 20 parts being released over a period of weeks and each dedicated to a separate issue. In episodes that have already been released, Russia's leader talked about the recent government reshuffle, Ukraine, mass protests in Moscow this summer and the use of modern technology.
Russia has created “offensive strike systems the world has never seen," and which are forcing the U.S. to try to catch up, Putin told Tass. As an example, the president mentioned new “hypersonic offensive systems" — a weapon that can fly 27 times the speed of sound that became operational late last year. He said that in the past 20 years the share of modern equipment in the Russian military has grown from 6% to 70%.
“This is a unique situation," Putin said. Having these systems in place allows the Kremlin to “maintain strategic stability and strategic balance” that the U.S. tried to “upset” with their missile defense systems, the president added.
“It is essential not only for us, but also for global security,” Putin concluded. The Kremlin has made military modernization its top priority as its relations with the West soured after Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea in 2014. Putin first mentioned developing some of the new hypersonic weapons in his state of the nation address in March 2018.
Last year, he described a buildup of NATO's forces near Russia's western borders and the U.S. withdrawal from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty as being among the top security threats to Russia.