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Baluyevsky. Aggressive remarks
Photo: AP
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
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.

 

"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.

 

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