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Putin against upping mil. spending to detriment of social programs

DAVOS, January 28 (RIA Novosti) - Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Wednesday he was against increasing military expenditure to the detriment of the resolution of social and economic problems.

Speaking at the Davos Economic Forum in Switzerland, he said militarization was not a cure-all for the economic crisis.

"Initially, it would certainly lead to the creation of new jobs... Probably, in the short term, this measure would have some effect, but in reality, militarization does not help resolve problems, but only drives them deeper, squeezing from the economy huge financial and material resources for which a far better use could be found," he said.

Putin said Russia intended to work actively on disarmament. "We are set for active work on disarmament problems," he said.

"A reasonable restraint in military expenditure, along with the strengthening of global security, would also certainly bring solid economic dividends," the premier said, adding that he hoped this point of view would prevail in the world.

A NATO spokesman said earlier on Wednesday that NATO would consider the suspension of Russian plans to deploy Iskander missile systems near Poland a "good step."

Some media sources earlier cited a Russian high-ranking military source as saying that the Defense Ministry had so far taken no practical measures to deploy Iskander missiles in its Kaliningrad exclave.

"The earlier Russian announcement that they were going to deploy missiles into Kaliningrad and point them at NATO allies was unwelcome. If that decision has now been rescinded, it is a good step," NATO spokesman James Appathurai said.

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