Ivanov says Russia "remains and is even doomed to being a military power" because it is the biggest country on this planet. "But it will remain strong due to modern weapons rather than the number of soldiers," the minister said.
Russia's nuclear triad still matches any country's nuclear forces and it will not stop developing. Russia's armed forces are being energetically rearmed now, and for the first time in the past ten years, the country is buying more weapons than it is selling. However, Ivanov maintains this is not for any aggressive purposes, as the country simply wants to reliably protect its territory and the territory of its allies within its commitments.
When speaking about the withdrawal of Russian troops from Georgia, Ivanov said that Russia never claimed it would not pull out. "The question is not when we will begin the withdrawal but when we will end it," he said.
According to Russia's calculations, it will take it at least four years to develop a structure in Russia where the troops and weapons to be withdrawn from Georgia will be redeployed. "So far, such allocations are not stipulated in the budget and additional financing can be envisaged no sooner than in 2006," he said.
Ivanov said that the Ukrainian defense minister had assured him that Ukraine did not intend to review the treaty on the Russian Black Sea Fleet base in Ukraine that runs until 2017.