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Russia may boost nuclear arsenal to respond to threats: deputy defense minister

(Xinhua)

09:58, February 07, 2012

MOSCOW, Feb. 6 (Xinhua) -- Russia may have to expand its nuclear arsenal to meet emerging global threats, Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov has said.

Antonov, in an interview with the Kommersant Daily published Monday, said that new challenges are emerging in the world, including nuclear proliferation and unrest in the Middle East.

"That's why Russia's military doctrine envisages the use of nuclear weapons in specific cases," Antonov said. "I do not rule out that under certain circumstances we will have to boost, not cut, our nuclear arsenal."

Antonov also criticized the U.S.-led European missile defense system as the main threat to Russia's security. He said that American strategic weapons, including the missile defense system, have been getting closer to Russia's borders since the Cold War.

"Components of the U.S. global missile defense network deployed in other regions also contain an anti-Russian potential," Antonov said.

Russian-U.S. talks on the missile system are deadlocked, he said, adding that Moscow may quit its strategic arms treaty with the U.S. that was signed in 2010.

Moscow has long opposed the deployment of American-led NATO missile defense facilities near its borders and wants legally binding guarantees from the United States and NATO that the shield is not targeting Russia.

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