Russian General: Bring Back Pre-emptive Nuclear Strike Option Against NATO
A senior Russian General has called for military doctrine to be redefined to include the possibility of pre-emptive nuclear strikes against foreign powers, and that the enemies of Russia should be specifically defined in the document, reports Russian language news agency Interfax.
His concerning statement comes in response to the 'eastward expansion' of NATO and plans by the United States to deploy missile defence systems in Eastern Europe. Interfax quotes Retired Army General Yuri Yakubov as saying: "This strategic document for the country should in the first place clearly identify the potential enemy of Russia, which is not in the military doctrine of 2010. In my view, our main enemy is the United States and the North Atlantic bloc [NATO].
"In particular, in my opinion, you need to carefully consider the forms and methods of the operation of Aerospace Defence, in close cooperation with strategic nuclear deterrence forces, the Strategic Missile Forces, strategic aviation and the Navy. Thus it is necessary to study the conditions under which Russia could use the Russian strategic nuclear forces (SNF) pre-emptively.
"A couple of years ago the United States and NATO at all levels stated that the North Atlantic bloc, the West in general are not the enemy of Russia. And what do we see now? Deployed against us is a real information war, with Russia deliberately shaped as a foe of the West, with far reaching goals.
"And most importantly, our borders are roughly base [sic] the United States and NATO. These global changes and challenges, in my opinion, should be clearly reflected in a revised military doctrine."
Russia's military doctrine, which governs the way its armed forces react to events and crises was last defined in 2010 and made no specific mention of nations the Russian Government considered it's enemies. It also reserves the right to "use nuclear weapons in response to use against it or its allies of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction, as well as in response to large-scale aggression using conventional weapons, a threat to the very existence of Russian state."
News of General Yabubov's comments comes ahead of the NATO conference starting in Wales tomorrow. The meeting is to be dominated by discussions about the situation in Ukraine, which has worsened despite the recent ceasefire.
Former Warsaw pact countries that are now members of Nato, such as Poland, are calling for a much tougher line against Vlamir Putin. They are concerned that a resurgent Russia may attempt to recreate its old Soviet empire, using Russian ex-patriots in Eastern European countries.
So far, the West has been muted in its response to the situation in Ukraine, preferring to target sanctions on individual supporters of Vladimir Putin. This is because countries like Germany are heavily reliant on Russian energy and are very keen to see the situation defused.
Putin himself did not agree to today's ceasefire, claiming he was not a party in the conflict. Meanwhile President Obama is in Estonia shoring up jittery allies of the US including Latvia and Lithuania.