Russia Ballistic Over U.S. Missile Plans

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks before a parade to mark Victory Day in the Moscow Red Square, Wednesday, May 9, 2007.
AP
No sooner had Russia tested its new ballistic missile than President Vladimir Putin launched a blistering attack on Washington for starting an arms race.

"Our American partners are stuffing Eastern Europe with new weapons," he said. "What are we supposed to do?"

Putin is furious about America's plans to install a new missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic, which used to belong to Russia, reports CBS News correspondent Elizabeth Palmer.

But a walk around the Abu Dhabi Arms Fair shows that the Russians are putting sophisticated military hardware into new places too.

Russia's arms exporters are not only wooing traditional allies of the United States, like Saudi Arabia, they are doing business with America's enemies, too. Enemies like Iran, which last year bought $700 million worth of Russian anti-aircraft systems.

"They're ready right now to buy — and buy fast, and buy for cash, and buy off the shelf — weapons, and that's what the Russians like," said Pavel Felgenhauer, a military analyst.

Russia's military industries are flourishing in an increasingly unstable world, even as the army, once the pride of the Soviet Union, is near collapse.

But Russia knows it can project power and influence more effectively, and profitably, by selling arms instead of using them.