Russia Could Use Nuclear Weapons in Preventive Attacks
( Russian army chief: We'll use nuclear weapons if threatened
General Yuri Baluyevsky says Moscow has no plans to attack anyone, but could use nuclear weapons in preventive strikes in case of a major threat
Associated Press Published: 01.19.08, 12:04 / Israel News
Russia's military chief of staff said Saturday that Moscow could use nuclear weapons in preventive strikes in case of a major threat, the latest aggressive remarks from increasingly assertive Russian authorities.
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"We have no plans to attack anyone, but we consider it necessary for all our partners in the world community to clearly understand ... that to defend the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Russia and its allies, military forces will be used, including preventively, including with the use of nuclear weapons," General Yuri Baluyevsky said.
The comments from the hawkish Baluyevsky did not appear to mark a policy shift for Russia, whose leaders have stressed the need to maintain a powerful nuclear deterrent and reserved the right to carry out preventive strikes to counter existential threats.
But they were made at a time of increasingly strained relations between Moscow and the West, which are at odds over a range of issues and are embroiled in persistent disputes over US plans for missile defense facilities in former Soviet satellite states that have joined NATO as well as alliance members' refusal to ratify an updated European conventional arms treaty.
RUSSIA to USE NUCLEAR WEAPONS if THREATENED - ARMY CHIEF
14:01 | 19/ 01/ 2008
MOSCOW, January 19 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's top military commander said on Saturday that the country is prepared to use its nuclear weapons to defend itself and allies in the event of a severe external threat.
The Chief of the Russian General Staff, Gen. Yury Baluyevsky, told a conference at the Academy of Military Sciences in Moscow: "We do not intend to attack anyone, but consider it necessary that all our partners clearly understand, and that no one has any doubts, that the Armed Forces will be used to protect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Russia and its allies, including preventative action, and including the use of nuclear weapons."
Baluyevsky's comments come amid growing tensions between Russia and NATO over the alliance's expansion into the former Eastern Bloc, the United States' plans to deploy missile defense elements in Poland and the Czech Republic, and Moscow's increasingly assertive military stance.
Russia resumed strategic bomber patrol flights over the Pacific, Atlantic, and Arctic oceans last August, and on December 12, 2007 imposed a unilateral moratorium on the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty, a key arms reduction pact.
Baluyevsky said that in order to protect Russia's interests, military force "can and must be used" when "all other means prove ineffective."
Programs to develop Russia's military must be closely linked to national fiscal planning, "taking into account the state's economic resources," he said.