Russia would use nuclear weapons in response to any imminent threat to its national security, Chief of the Russian General Staff Gen. Nikolai Makarov said on Wednesday.
“We are certainly not planning to fight against the whole of NATO,” Makarov said in an interview with the Ekho Moskvy radio, “but if there is a threat to the integrity of the Russian Federation, we have the right to use nuclear weapons, and we will.”
The general said Russia’s nuclear deterrent is the cornerstone of strategic stability and serious efforts are being taken by the Russian government to modernize the country’s nuclear triad.
The Russian Defense ministry is planning to acquire at least 10 Borey class strategic nuclear submarines, thoroughly modernize its fleet of Tu-160 Blackjack and Tu-95 Bear strategic bombers, and equip its Strategic Missile Forces with formidable Yars mobile ballistic missile systems.
Makarov also stressed the importance of maintaining highly-efficient, mobile conventional forces.
“Unfortunately, we are facing threats from a number of unstable states, where no nuclear weapons but well-trained, strong and mobile Armed Forces are required to resolve any conflict situation," Makarov said.
The Russian government has allocated 22 trillion rubles ($730 billion) on the state arms procurement program until 2020.