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Britain, France must be included in weapons talks: Russian general

by Staff Writers
Moscow (AFP) Sept 3, 2007
Nuclear powers Britain and France must be included in any new efforts by Washington and Moscow to reduce stocks of tactical nuclear weapons, a Russian defence ministry official said on Monday.

"We're ready to launch such negotiations with the United States but it must take place with the participation in the process of other countries, above all Britain and France," said General Vladimir Verkhovtsev, who oversees Russia's nuclear warheads, quoted by Russian news agencies.

Tensions between Moscow and Washington have risen recently in response to US plans to place missile defence facilities in the Czech Republic and Poland, both former Soviet satellite states that are now members of NATO.

Verkhovtsev stressed that tactical nuclear weapons remained an important part of Russia's arsenal.

"There are nuclear powers on Russia's borders and for Russia tactical nuclear weapons are a form of deterrent capable of protecting against attack," he said.

Moscow remains irritated that US tactical nuclear missiles continue to be stationed on the territories of European countries, relatively close to Russia's borders.

Tactical nuclear weapons, intended for use as battlefield weapons rather than for hitting larger targets such as cities, are not subject to formal arms control agreements.

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Russian bombers not carrying nuclear weapons, air force says
Moscow (AFP) Aug 27, 2007
Russia said Monday that strategic bomber planes which were ordered this month to resume the Soviet-era practice of long-range patrols are not carrying nuclear weapons, ITAR-TASS news agency reported.

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