Updated Russian military doctrine has no preemptive nuclear strike provision - source

A new edition of the Russian military doctrine does not contain a preemptive nuclear strike provision but it clearly defines circumstances under which strategic nuclear forces can be used, a source involved in the drafting of the document told Interfax-AVN on Wednesday.

A new edition of the Russian military doctrine does not contain a preemptive nuclear strike provision but it clearly defines circumstances under which strategic nuclear forces can be used, a source involved in the drafting of the document told Interfax-AVN on Wednesday.

"The updated version of the military doctrine will not have a provision regarding a possible preemptive nuclear strike on a potential enemy. Article 18 of this document clearly defines conditions for the use of strategic armaments of the Russian nuclear triad. That will be possible if the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Russian Federation are threatened with destruction," he said.

"Persistent proposals have been made [during expert discussions] to include a provision allowing for the possibility of nuclear strikes on the territory of a potential aggressor or a group of countries in the updated military doctrine," the source noted.

"The military were most insistent about adding the preemptive strike provision [to the doctrine]," the source said. "There is no such provision in the final edition, which, it seems to me, is right. Article 18 is absolutely definite. If the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our country are really threatened with destruction, Russia will undertake this responsibility and use nuclear weapons to protect its security as a last resort."

He noted that the current military doctrine does not have a preemptive nuclear strike provision either.

In September Russian President Vladimir Putin set the task of updating the military doctrine before the end of this year.

"The prospective state armament program [for the period until 2025] should be based on every major strategic planning document in the field of national defense and security, including the updated military doctrine of Russia which will be ready by December of this year," Putin said at a meeting dedicated to the state armament program for 2016-2025.

Read more: A new nuclear arms race?

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