00:33 GMT01 August 2021
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Russia reserves the right to use nuclear weapons in response to the use of weapons of mass destruction or regular weapons against it if the very existence of the country is threatened, Russian General Staff chief Valery Gerasimov said on Wednesday.

    Speaking at the ninth Moscow Conference on International Security, Gerasimov emphasised that Russia's nuclear policy is purely defensive in nature.

    "The Russian Federation reserves the right to use nuclear weapons only in response to the use of nuclear and other types of weapons of mass destruction against it or its allies, as well as in the event of aggression against the Russian Federation with the use of conventional weapons, when the very existence of the state is threatened," Gerasimov explained.

    Russia has developed means to neutralise the threat posed by the US missile defense systems, the official assured.

    Earlier this month, US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a Joint Statement on Strategic Stability during the Geneva summit, reaffirming the principle that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought. President Putin noted then that both Russia and the United States were responsible for the world's stability as they were major nuclear superpowers "in terms of nuclear warheads, re-entry vehicles and delivery means, as well as the quality and the modernity". He also added that the two countries were set to begin consultations on the next steps to ensuring strategic stability, following the recent extension of the New START treaty.

    US-Russia summit, US-Russia relations, Vladimir Putin, Joe Biden, New START Treaty
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