Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Russia: Nukes are great equalisers

12 December 2013, 10:55

Moscow - Russia reserves the right to use nuclear weapons in response to a conventional strike and sees them as a "great equaliser" reducing the likelihood of aggression, a senior Russian official said on Wednesday.

While Russia amended its military doctrine years ago to allow for the possibility of using nuclear weapons first in retaliation to a non-nuclear attack, the statement by deputy prime minister Dmitry Rogozin reflected Moscow's concern about prospective US conventional weapons.

Weapons that have been developed in the United States under the so-called "prompt global strike" programme would be capable of striking targets anywhere in the world in as little as an hour with deadly precision. Russia, which has lagged far behind in developing such weapons, has described them as destabilising.

Without naming the US, Rogozin told lawmakers in comments carried by Russian news agencies said that those who "experiment with non-nuclear strategic weapons" should remember that "if we come under attack, we will undoubtedly use nuclear weapons in certain situations to defend our territory and state interests."

He said that it should discourage any potential aggressor.

"We have never underestimated the role of nuclear weapons as a 'great equalizer,'" Rogozin said.

US plans

The Russian doctrine mirrors the American strategy during the Cold War, when the US would not rule out using nuclear weapons first, because it feared it might have to do so in response to overwhelming conventional attack on western Europe by Soviet forces.

Rogozin said that Russia is working on developing its own version of the "prompt global strike" weapons, but wouldn't give any details.

The US plans included modifying some of the existing nuclear-armed missiles to carry conventional warheads as well as designing new vehicles capable of travelling at least five times the speed of sound.

Russian officials said that such US weapons wouldn't fall under any restrictions but would have combat efficiency comparable to nuclear weapons, and thus should be included in any prospective nuclear arms reduction talks.

Russian suspicions about the US intentions have aggravated tensions caused by a dispute over the US-led Nato missile defence programme, which Moscow sees as a threat to its nuclear deterrent.

Russia's doctrine

Russia has increasingly relied on nuclear weapons in its military strategy to compensate for a post-Soviet decline in its conventional forces. The nation's military doctrine says it may use nuclear weapons to counter a nuclear attack on Russia or an ally, or a large-scale conventional attack that threatens Russia's existence.

Rogozin's comment comes a day after President Vladimir Putin pledged to continue an ambitious weapons modernisation programme and to expand Russia's military presence in the Arctic region.

Putin has pointed at the US navy presence in the Arctic Ocean as one of the reasons behind the buildup, saying that Russia is concerned because it takes US missiles just 15 to 16 minutes to reach Moscow from a submarine in the Barents Sea region.

The statements reflected the current strain in Russian-US relations, which have been hurt by disputes over the US-led missile shield, Russia's human rights record and, most recently, differences over Ukraine.

- AP


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...