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    PUTIN ON NATIONAL MISSILE DEFENCE

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    PLESETSK launching site (Arkhangelsk region), February 18th, 2004 (RIA Novosti correspondent) - Russian President Vladimir Putin does not rule out the possibility of developing the Russian national missile defence system.

    "The work to create the NMD system has been under way for several dozen years. At some point, we might switch over to practical efforts to build new [national missile defence] systems," the president said at a press conference on Wednesday.

    In his words, these efforts are based on the principles of military efficiency and the least expenditures in economic terms.

    "We will see how the work will proceed in other countries, but will not suspend our efforts," said Putin.

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