18 Mar 2009

Russia begins rearming

7:50 am on 18 March 2009

President Dmitry Medvedev of Russia has announced Moscow will begin a programme of comprehensive military rearmament from 2011.

Mr Medvedev says the primary task would be to increase the combat readiness of Russia's forces, including strategic nuclear forces.

Explaining the move, he cited concerns over expansion by NATO near Russia's borders and regional conflicts.

Last year, the Kremlin announced plans to increase spending on Russia's armed forces during the next two years.

Russia will spend nearly $US140 billion by 2011 on buying arms.