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Russian President Dmitri Medvedev says his country will develop a new generation of nuclear weaponry, even as it works toward a new strategic arms treaty with the United States.
Mr. Medvedev spoke Wednesday in Moscow, in a wide-ranging interview with the editors of three state-controlled television channels.
He said new missile technology will be developed in full accordance with any new arms agreements reached with Washington.
The current Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty expired earlier this month, and senior U.S. and Russian officials say they expect to reach a new accord in early January.
Mr. Medvedev and U.S. President Barack Obama agreed to pursue a new nuclear arms pact in July at a summit in Moscow.
At that time, officials said a new draft treaty would include reductions in each country's arsenal from current levels to between 1,500 and 1,675 "operationally deployed" warheads in the next seven years.
The Russian leader also praised Mr. Obama's recent call for a nuclear weapons-free world, calling it a "beautiful and right goal." But he said movement toward that objective should be gradual and should require other nuclear-armed countries to cut their arsenals as well.
Mr. Medvedev used the interview to touch on a host of other topics, chief among them the environment and the economy. State-owned media quote the president as saying he is dissatisfied with this month's global warming summit in Copenhagen, calling it "a lot of hot air." He said Russia will none-the-less continue to push for domestic energy efficiency and cuts in carbon emissions.
The president also said Russia has survived the global economic crisis with no major losses. He said the country could see its gross domestic product grow by 2.5 to five percent in 2010, "in an optimistic scenario."