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Putin Stresses Russias Need For Nuclear Deterrent

Russian President Vladimir Putin.
by Staff Writers
Moscow (AFP) Mar 31, 2006
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday his country needed to maintain a nuclear deterrent to guarantee its security, Russian news agencies reported. "An analysis of the international situation forces Russia to view the nuclear deterrent as a fundamental necessity for security," Ria Novosti quoted Putin during a meeting about the nuclear defence industry.

"Keeping a minimum supply of nuclear warheads and maintaining our nuclear deterrent is a priority for Russia.

"Just as in the past, Russia must be sure that its nuclear arsenal is up to the demands of the modern world," Putin added.

Russia considers itself free to modernise its nuclear missile force, including multiple warhead weapons, because the START II strategic arms reduction agreement has not yet come into force.

In recent months Putin has said several times that his country will soon acquire new nuclear arms capable of penetrating all existing defence systems

START II, which was signed in 1993, is aimed at reducing the number of nuclear warheads held by the United States and Russia, to 3,500 and 3,000 respectively.

But in May 2002 Putin and his US counterpart George W Bush signed a new agreement that largely overtook START II.

The two countries pledged to cut the total number of nuclear warheads held between them from 6,000 to between 1,700 and 2,200 by 2012.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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