Russian General Seeks Nuclear First-Strike Option Against US

Thursday, 04 Sep 2014 07:54 PM

By Sean Piccoli

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A Russian defense minister wants his country's official military doctrine rewritten to allow for a pre-emptive nuclear attack against the United States and NATO, the Russian-language news agency Interfax reports.

Russian Army Gen. Yury Yakubov said the doctrine, last revised in 2010, should be updated to classify the United States and other NATO countries as the "main enemy" of Russia, Interfax reported on Wednesday.

Yakubov, who is from the defense ministry's inspector general's office, also said it is time "to hash out the conditions under which Russia could carry out a pre-emptive strike with the Russian Strategic Rocket Forces," according to a translation of the general's remarks by the English-language Moscow Times.

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Russia categorizes its nuclear arsenal as a defensive measure to be used in the event of an imminent attack that threatens the country's existence, Interfax reported.

Nuclear war talk has crept back into official Russian discourse amid the fighting in Ukraine, where pro-Russia separatists are being armed by Moscow and supported with Russian ground troops.

The United States and the European Union have jointly condemned Russia's actions in Ukraine and imposed successively harsher economic sanctions. The rhetoric from Moscow has followed suit.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday told children at a Kremlin-sponsored youth camp, "I want to remind you that Russia is one of the leading nuclear powers."

Ukraine's defense minister used Facebook on Monday to charge that Russia "has threatened on several occasions across unofficial channels that, in the case of continued resistance, they are ready to use a tactical nuclear weapon against us."

The Russian general's remarks came ahead of joint military exercises between NATO and Ukrainian forces that are scheduled to begin on Sept. 16 and "likely to further fuel suspicions between Moscow and the West," the Toronto Globe and Mail reported.

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