Russian President Vladimir Putin told reporters in Paris, after his meetings with French President Francois Hollande, that Russia will hold partner-like dialogue on missile defense if Western countries provide guarantees that NATO's missile defense system is not aimed at it. "We are constantly being told that the missile defense system is not directed against Russia. We would like to receive military and technological guarantees fixed in legally binding documents," he said. "Only then will we be able to feel safe and hold normal partner-like dialogue." He dismissed verbal assurances by the US and NATO as "clearly insufficient in the modern world" and "childish." "We need guarantees and serious agreements in the security sphere," he said.
In the absence of such guarantees, however, Russia is going out of its way to show war readiness. RIA Novosti reported that the Russian military plans over 1,000 command-and-staff and tactical exercises during the summer training period that runs from June to November of this year. These will focus on improving interoperability of all branches of the armed forces and efficient use of automated battlefield management systems, the Defense Ministry said in a statement. The training will culminate in a large scale exercise, dubbed Kavkaz-2012, that will take place in southern Russia and the North Caucasus, which will also involve Abkhaz and South Ossetian military units.