WASHINGTON, June 17 : US and Nato have accused the Russian government of "sabre-rattling" after President Vladmir Putin announced plans to add more than 40 new intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) to its nuclear arsenal in 2015.
US Secretary of State John Kerry expressed concern over Putin's missile announcement and said no one wanted to see backsliding "to a kind of a Cold War status."
Kerry told reporters at a news briefing that Putin's stance could be posturing but he added, "Nobody should hear that kind of announcement from a leader of a powerful country and not be concerned about what the implications are."
Tension has flared anew between Russia and Western powers over Moscow's role in the Ukraine crisis, in which pro-Russian separatist forces have seized a large part of the country's east after Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in early 2014.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg accused Russia of unwarranted "saber rattling" and said this was "destabilizing and dangerous".
At a news briefing in Brussels, Stoltenberg said such rhetoric from Moscow explained the Western alliance's increased preparedness on the part of its forces to defend its member states closest to Russia.
Meanwhile, Russia accused NATO on Wednesday of encroaching on its borders and seeking to change the strategic balance of power, forcing Moscow to take steps to protect its interests and security.
The comments by Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov came a day after Russia and the West accused one another of endangering global security, adding to tensions over the conflict in Ukraine, in which pro-Russian separatists have seized land in the east after Moscow annexed Crimea from Kiev in early 2014. ?REUTERS