Russia To Build New Nuclear Deterrent System By 2020

Friday, 26 Sep 2008 04:37 PM

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NEW YORK -- Russia's beefing up of its nuclear deterrent will not affect the balance of power, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Friday.

"The balance of power in terms of nuclear deterrence is not going to be affected by those measures," Rice said in an interview with Reuters, adding that the U.S. nuclear deterrent is "capable" and "robust."

Russia said earlier on Friday it would build a space defense system and a new fleet of nuclear submarines by 2020, beefing up its nuclear deterrent at a time of heightened tensions with Washington.

In the interview, Rice also said Washington was reviewing its options should Russia seek to extract oil or minerals from the area of conflict in the former Soviet republic of Georgia, which fought a war with Russia last month.

"We're looking at questions of what the posture of the United States would be, should Russian companies ... choose to try to do business in, or certainly, involve themselves in extractive activities, in what is a zone of conflict, and is indeed a part of ... the internationally recognized boundaries of Georgia," she said.

"Extractive can mean more than oil, it can also mean minerals," she said.

Russian forces last month moved into neighboring Georgia to crush an attempt by Georgia to retake two separatist regions, South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Russia later recognized the two regions as independent states.

Under a French-brokered ceasefire deal, Russia has until October 10 to withdraw troops from "security zones" around South Ossetia and Abkhazia. But Russia has said it will keep a planned 7,600 troops in the two separatist regions indefinitely.

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