Russia Signs In New Nuclear Policy

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a new government policy for nuclear deterrence yesterday that apparently allows the use of nuclear weapons in response to conventional arms attacks.  

Russia says its nuclear weapons are developed in order to deter potential attacks and can be used to combat a strike targeting the nation’s critical government and military infrastructure. The decree Putin signed on Tuesday replaces a 10-year-old document that expired this year. It outlines the types of threats that could trigger Russia’s use of nuclear weapons, including an attack with conventional, non-nuclear weapons that “threatens the existence” of the country.

The new policy also says that if the government obtains “reliable information” about the launch of ballistic missiles targeting Russia or its allies, a nuclear response is permissible. Additonally, the document specifies that nuclear weapons can be used under the condition of “enemy impact on critically important government or military facilities of the Russian Federation, the incapacitation of which could result in the failure of retaliatory action of nuclear forces.”

The document describes containing and deterring aggressions against Russia as being "among the highest national priorities." Ultimately, Moscow's nuclear weapons policy is described as being "defensive in nature" and designed to safeguard the country's sovereignty against potential adversaries.


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