Russia Denies Reported Plan to Station Nukes in Cuba
Moscow denied reports that it was considering basing nuclear-armed
bombers in Cuba in reply to US plans for a missile defense shield in
eastern Europe, but said it would take measures to counter the US system.
Russia's defense ministry on Thursday, July 24, denied reports that it
was considering basing nuclear-armed bombers in Cuba to warn against US
plans to base a missile defense shield in Europe, Russian news agencies
"We regard these kinds of anonymous allegations as disinformation,"
defense ministry spokesman Ilshat Baichurin was quoted by RIA-Novosti as
The report in state newspaper Izvestia on Monday cited an unidentified
high-ranking air force official as saying such bombers were sent to Cuba
to counter US shield plans.
The United States had refused to comment on the anonymous report but
welcomed Moscow's denial of the intentions to resume bomber flights to Cuba.
"That's a very good thing," said Gonzalo Gallegos, the State
Department's acting deputy spokesman.
Baichurin, however, suggested the allegations could have been planted by
foreign countries as a cover for building up military elements along
Russia's border in an apparent reference to US plans. Moscow, he said,
has no intentions to threaten other states.
"Russia pursues peace-loving policies and does not build military bases
along the borders of other states," RIA Novosti quoted Baichurin as saying.
Other measures being considered
A three-stage booster built by Lockheed Martin Corp. is launched at
Vandenberg Air Force Base Bildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit
der Bildunterschrift: US plans to build a missile defense shield in
eastern Europe have raised Russia ire
Another Russian military expert, however, said the country could take
other steps to counteract what it sees as a strategic threat from the
"Russia's military responses to the deployment of a US missile defense
system in Europe may include improving the Russian strategic Topol-M
missiles with hypersonic maneuvering warheads and a large number of
jamming stations that would reduce the effectiveness of missile defense
elements tenfold," Viktor Yesin, a former chief of general staff of the
Russian Strategic Missile Troops, said on Thursday.
Yesin said the Russian military was considering a full range of measures
to respond adequately to the perceived threat from the US system.
The United States has failed to convince Russia that plans to site parts
of a missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic are intended only
to guard against rogue states such as Iran. Russia views the shield as a
threat to its Cold War nuclear deterrent.
Russian steps could include reactivating Soviet military plans to place
ballistic missiles in orbit from where they would be able to bypass the
planned US shield via the South Pole.
"Russia can already now carry out such technical measures and is
partially doing so," Yesin was quoted by Interfax news agency as saying.
He listed among other possible military counter measures the deployment
of a missile system in Russia's European enclave of Kaliningrad and
readying long-range Tu-22 M3 bombers for missions.
Yesin also suggested that Russia was considering pulling out of the
Russian-American Strategic Offensive Reduction Treaty, which commits
both countries to reduce nuclear warheads by nearly two-thirds by 2012.
In December, Russia withdrew from key Cold War-era arms restraint treaty
in what analysts say was partly military anger at US missile defense
plans. But Yesin advised restraint Thursday, saying it was not a time to
scare European allies.
DPA news agency