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Putin: BRICS a foreign policy priority for Russia
February 27, 2013, 3:01 pm

President Putin (second, left) with fellow BRICS leaders. [AP]

Vladimir Putin (second, left) with fellow BRICS leaders [AP]

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that strengthening the BRICS group of emerging economies is one of Russia’s foreign policy priorities.

President Putin was speaking at a meeting with senior military staff at the russian defence ministry on Wednesday.

He called for strengthening the BRICS group, greater Eurasian integration, expanding the single economic space and possibly turning it into an economic union and boosting the military capabilities of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO).

The Russian president spoke at length on the changing geopolitical situation and asserted that, “Russia should help develop a multipolar world.”

“We see how instability and conflict are spreading around the world today. Armed conflict continues in the Middle East and Asia, and the danger of ‘export’ of radicalism and chaos continues to grow in our neighbouring regions,” he reiterated.

The president also warned that systematic attempts are being made to undermine the existing strategic balance of forces.

“Systematic attempts are being made from the outside to disrupt the strategic balance in this or that manner. In fact, the second stage of the US global missile defence system is being launched, and the possibilities for further NATO eastward expansion are being explored,” Putin said.

“The danger of the militarization of the Arctic also persists,” he added.

Putin claimed that while these challenges affect Russia’s national interests, they also push Russia into determining its foreign policy priorities.

Moscow has consistently opposed NATO’s US-led missile defence programme for Europe, claiming it undermines Russia’s nuclear deterrent.

NATO maintains the programme is aimed at emerging nuclear weapon states such as Iran and North Korea.

Source: Agencies