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Putin tells Russian arms firms to be ready for war

Moscow: Vladimir Putin has warned Russian businesses they should be ready to switch to military production in preparation for war.
The Russian President told defence ministry officials on Wednesday that the arms production industry - both private and state owned - needed to be prepared to step up manufacturing at a moment's notice.
President Putin said: "The ability of the economy to rapidly increase the volume of defence products and services at the right time is one of the most important conditions for ensuring the security of the state.
"To this end, all strategic and simply large-scale enterprise should be ready, regardless of ownership."
The Russian leader, addressing a debrief meeting about the Zapad military exercise two months ago, reminded arms leaders that in the Zapad 2015 debrief they "discussed the topic in detail".
"Appropriate instructions were given to modernise production facilities, build up reserves of material and technical resources, and ensure the transportation of troops," he added.
He said participants of the meeting will have to make "conclusions for the future".
Russian media has widely interpreted his order for the industry "to prepare for war".
The day before, the President said Russian military technology needed to catch up and overtake the West.
He said: "Our army and navy need to have the very best equipment - better than foreign equivalents. "If we want to win, we have to be better."
The Kremlin has invested heavily in military equipment and technology over the past few years.
September's Zapad 2017 was a six-day joint strategic exercise with Belarus which Western military analysts claimed was Russia's largest since the Cold War. Both Belarus and Russia denied the numbers of troops involved reached 100,000.
Over the past few years, Mr Putin has invested 20 trillion rubles (£254bn) into replacing 70% of the military's Soviet-era hardware by 2020.
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