Nuclear arsenal 'key to global balance'

2012-02-24 22:30

Moscow - Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Friday said that Russia had a global obligation to retain a strong nuclear arsenal as a balance against US power and prevent major conflicts from breaking out.

Putin's comments came as he toured a nuclear research centre in the once-secret city of Sarov ahead of a March 4 presidential election in which he is hoping to secure a return to the Kremlin.

Putin chaired a special security meeting with experts in which he lashed out at US plans to deploy a missile defence shield in Europe that Russia fears might one day make its Soviet-era nuclear arsenal ineffective.

He warned the United States that Russia "does not intend to disarm in a unilateral manner" and warned the military was developing new and more powerful nuclear arms.

"This is not only our national objective, but also an obligation before all humanity - to keep a balance of strategic forces and their capabilities," news agencies quoted Putin as saying.

"This is very important. After World War II, this balance ensured the absence of global conflicts.

"Unfortunately, there are many regional conflicts and their number is only growing. But the balance of strategic forces will help avoid major conflicts."

Putin often clashed with the United States while president between 2000 and 2008 and has remained a key decision-maker as premier, voicing strong criticism of the Nato-led air campaign in Libya.

Russia now faces both Western and Arab world condemnation for its refusal to blame Syrian President Bashar Assad for an 11-month crackdown on street protests that the opposition says has claimed more than 7 600 lives.

The Russian stongman has accused Western powers of acting "like a bull in a china shop" in Syria and other recent regional conflicts.

Putin this week promised to spend 23 trillion rubles ($788bn) by 2020 on a vast new military procurement programme that would supply Russia with a new stock of nuclear arms.

  • Multi - 2012-02-24 22:42

    Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD). I think this is a stupid plan. All it takes is enough idiots in one room to agree on pressing the big red button then the feces hits the rotating office appliance.

  • Fred - 2012-02-25 03:15

    But let major conflicts by brutal dictators happen right now (Syria) and stymy global alliances from working to stop them. Putin is an old-style real-politik politician. His time is done. Over and out.

  • Frederick Mintah - 2012-02-25 08:19

    Go Putin. The US surely cannot define the standards and how the world should live.

  • rbczovczov - 2012-02-25 16:56

    If the world should tolerate nuclear weapons then ONLY fully democratic societies should be allowed to have nuclear weapons for they have some measure of countability as opposed to Dictators like Putin and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who are not accountable to anyone not even their own populations. Dont you ever forget that if it wasn't for the USA and its nuclear arsenal, all of you would be talking German, Italian and Japanese to this very day.

      Fidel - 2012-02-26 10:32

      Do democracies ask their citizens when they want to wage war. The failure of democracy to control unaccountable elites in Western countries as they go on colonial rampages, murdering people - is itself the proof that the system is flawed. The riposte to the lie that Democracy is worth killing for lies in the corrupt system that allows the killing in the first place.

      Anthony - 2012-02-26 10:58

      This is such garbage you talk. The cititizens of European countries most certainly have a say, if their country goes to war or gets involved in an armed conflict, and if they do, when to get out. The recent history of Afghanistan is proof to this. Germany, Holland, Belgium, the UK, italy, France , etc, have had fierce debates in their parliaments about this issue. ( The Dutch government has in recent years, twice had to resign, for issues related to foreign intervention!!!!! ) But again, you are blinded with your hatred for anything Western !!!!!!

  • Fidel - 2012-02-26 10:34

    Nuclear weapons are a deterrent. They ensure that your country doesn't get attacked. We can only hope that a re-emergence of a multipolar world will curb America's worst excesses.

      Anthony - 2012-02-26 10:41

      Ohhhhhhh Noooooooooo, she is back !!!!

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