Russia will maintain, not build up n-arsenal: Medvedev

March 5th, 2010 - 6:21 pm ICT by IANS  

Moscow, March 5 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Russia is not planning to build up its strategic potential, but will keep its nuclear weapons, President Dmitry Medvedev said Friday.
“Today we have no need to build up the potential of our strategic deterrence, but possession of nuclear weapons is a key condition for Russia to pursue its independent policies, for safeguarding its sovereignty, for peace efforts and for preventing any military conflict and also settling post-conflict situations,” Medvedev said during a meeting at the defence ministry.

Russia and the US have made considerable headway on a new strategic arms reduction pact in recent months, with talks set to continue March 9.

Addressing Russia’s top brass, Medvedev made clear he saw regional conflicts in countries surrounding Russia as a major security threat.

“It is important to take into account that there is a number of unsettled regional conflicts around our borders. It creates a potential threat to our country’s national security,” Medvedev said.

His statement comes amid concerns over Georgia’s growing military potential, which Russia suspects receives heavy backing from the West.

“Unfortunately, the re-establishment of Georgia’s military potential is continuing with the help of foreign military assistance,” Medvedev said.

Diplomatic relations between Russia and Georgia remain sharply antagonistic after a five-day war in early August 2008 over Georgia’s two breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

Russia recognised the two republics’ independence shortly after ceasefire. Only Nicaragua, Venezuela and the Pacific island state of Nauru have followed suit. Western powers have condemned Russia’s move.

In February, Russia and Abkhazia signed a deal to set up a Russian military base in the former Georgian republic, to fierce protests from Tbilisi and the West.

–IANS/RIA Novosti

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