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The chief of the Russian General Staff believes a nuclear war probable near the Russian borders

November 18, 2011, 12:14 UTC+3

Makarov also stated that several weapons still do not meet the requirements of the Defence Ministry

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MOSCOW, November 18 (Itar-Tass) —  Chief of the Russian General Staff Nikolai Makarov said at a meeting of the Public Chamber on Wednesday that he does not rule out a probable nuclear war near the Russian borders. Makarov also stated that several weapons still do not meet the requirements of the Defence Ministry.

In his report General Makarov noted that after the collapse of the Soviet Union the probability of local armed conflicts along Russian border grew, the Komsomolskaya Pravda writes. Some of his statements journalists branded as high-profiled or sensational. The chief of the General Staff stated, “In some conditions I do not rule out that local and regional armed conflicts may grow in a large-scale war, particularly with the use of nuclear weapons.”

The report listed several destabilizing factors, which may drag Russia in hostilities, the Kommersant reports. The anti-Russian policy in the Baltic states and Georgia, which may give rise to a crisis in the relations between Russia and NATO, is called in the West as one of the most probable causes for an armed confrontation. Meanwhile, armed conflicts in Central Asia can give the reason for the Russian troops to be involved in the commitments on the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO).

The General Staff does not rule out that a higher nuclear potential of Iran and North Korea will be settled by the use of force with the assistance of the United States and in this scenario Russia’s assistance in this issue will be considered. Another reason for the conflict will be disagreements in the Arctic, as the latter can deteriorate the relations between non-Arctic countries over oil and gas reserves. The creation of the elements of the missile defence system also undermines greatly the current balance of forces and the strategic stability in general, the report said.

The military and industrial sector is not ready for a probable war: several models of domestic weapons are inferior to foreign counterparts in combat features that puts the Russian army in the losing position in advance, the Kommersant cited Makarov as saying. The chief of the General Staff criticized the tank T-90 and the multiple launch rocket system RS-30 (Smerch). The report holds that “Russian production industry is incapable to produce weapons and military hardware needed for the Defence Ministry in most cases.” Therefore, the state armament program through 2020 envisages gradual purchases of promising weapons. Modern weapons make about 30% and will make already 70% by 2020, the General Staff said.

A member of the public council under the Defence Ministry, candidate of military sciences Anatoly Tsyganok told the Novye Izvestia  that he cannot agree with Makarov. “I do not believe that local conflicts will result in nuclear disasters. All countries have a clear idea that no one needs a nuclear winter. Nuclear weapons are the weapons of pre-emption. They can be used only by insane people or terrorists. I do not rule out Nikolai Makarov will refuse from the initial meaning of his statement and said that he meant something else,” Tsyganok said.

A member of the public council under the Defence Ministry and the chief editor of the National Defence magazine Igor Korotchenko believes that Nikolai Makarov has made a theoretical statement, repeating the provisions of the Russian military  doctrine. “The doctrine allows using nuclear weapons in case of a massive aggression against the Russian Federation. Nuclear weapons can be used against a stronger and better technically equipped enemy if he attacks us, taking advantage of conventional weapons. This may be China and the NATO bloc, but with both of them will have good relations, and we do not expect any aggression from them,” the newspaper quoted the expert as saying.

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