Russian President Medvedev ordered a major military rearmament Tuesday, warning that his country faced the risk of "significant conflict."
In a stark assessment, Medvedev said that NATO was still intent on expanding closer to Russia's borders and told military chiefs to raise the combat readiness of the country's armed forces.
Russia's Defense Minister also lashed out at the United States, accusing it of plotting to take control of energy and mineral resources in states bordering Russia.
Medvedev called for modernization of Russia's nuclear forces and said that "large-scale rearmament" of the army and navy would commence in 2011.
"Analysis of the military-political situation in the world shows that serious conflict potential remains in some regions.... attempts to expand the military infrastructure of NATO near the borders of our country are continuing," he told Defense Ministry officials.
"The primary task is to increase the combat readiness of our forces, first of all our strategic nuclear forces. They must be able to fulfill all tasks necessary to ensure Russia's security."
The hawkish tone of the remarks came despite recent improvements in relations between Russia and NATO, and attempts by President Obama to ease tensions with the United States over missile defense in eastern Europe that built up under his predecessor George W. Bush. They also coincided with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown's most progressive speech yet on nuclear disarmament, in which he called for a "forward plan" to be agreed by nuclear and non-nuclear states.
Anatoly Serdyukov, the Defense Minister, told the same meeting that the U.S. was attempting to gain control of oil and gas resources in Russia's former Soviet neighbors in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).
Serdyukov warned that "the likelihood of armed conflicts and their potential danger for our state are rising" as America sought to expand its influence around Russia's borders and push Moscow out."