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Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a meeting with representatives of international news agencies in St. Petersburg, Russia, June 1, 2017. REUTERS/Dmitri Lovetsky/Pool

(reuters_tickers)

ST PETERSBURG, Russia (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that elements of a U.S. anti-missile system being built in Alaska and South Korea were a challenge to Russia which it was obliged to respond to by building up its own forces in the region.

Putin, speaking to reporters on the sidelines of an economic forum in St Petersburg, said Russia could not stand idly by and watch while others increased their military capabilities along its borders in Europe and the Far East.

(Reporting by Denis Pinchuk/Andrew Osborn/Dmitry Solovyov; Editing by Maria Kiselyova)

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