Preemptive nuclear strike omitted from Russia’s new military doctrine - reports

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The new draft of the Russian military doctrine doesn’t provide for the possibility of a preemptive nuclear strike, news agencies report quoting unnamed sources in the Defense Ministry.

The renewed draft of the military doctrine would not have a reservation for preventive nuclear strikes on potential enemy. Article 198 of the document is very precise on the conditions under which Russia can use the nuclear weapons,” a person involved in the preparation of the new doctrine told the Interfax on Wednesday.

It would become possible if the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Russian Federation are under threat.”

RIA Novosti confirmed the report on the same day, quoting a high-placed source in Russia’s Security Council. The source said that the military had repeatedly suggested including the possibility of a pre-emptive nuclear strike on potential aggressor nations or blocs, but the current draft features no such option.

The Russian military doctrine, approved in 2010, also lacks the provision for a preemptive nuclear strike. It states: “The Russian Federation reserves the right to use nuclear weapons in reply to strikes with nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction on its territory or on the territory of its allies. A strike is also possible in case of an aggression with use of conventional weapons that put the very existence of the Russian Federation into question.”

The doctrine gives the right of final decision on nuclear strike to the president.

This September, President Vladimir Putin charged senior military and state officials with the task of developing an updated military doctrine that would match the changing global politics and modern military challenges. The deadline is the end of the year. Officials involved in the project earlier told the press that the new doctrine would take into consideration the new dangers and threats, in particular those manifested in the so-called Arab Spring, the civil war in Syria and the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.

Last year, Russia’s official in charge of defense industry, Deputy PM Dmitry Rogozin, told reporters that Russia will use nuclear weapons if it comes under an attack, adding that this possibility serves as the main deterrent to potential provocateurs and aggressors.

We have never diminished the importance of nuclear weapons – the weapon of reprisal – as the great balancer of chances,” Rogozin said.

The comment came in reply to reports about the United States’ Conventional Prompt Global Strike (PGS) strategy. Back then, Rogozin promised Russian lawmakers that the Fund of Perspective Researches (FPI) will develop a plan of military response to the PGS strategy, but refused to disclose any details or deadlines.