Talking to chief correspondents of leading US media in the Kremlin on Saturday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said it is highly unlikely that bin Laden has any mass destruction weapons at his disposal. At the same time, he noted that "we cannot" completely dismiss the possibility that terrorists do have such weapons. "But these weapons are certainly not of Soviet or Russian make," he stressed. As for terrorists' threats to use mass destruction weapons, we have had such precedents in the Northern Caucasus, he went on. As a rule, these threats were meant to intimidate the population and pressurize political leadership. In this respect, said the president, Osama bin Laden is no different from "his disciples acting in the North Caucasus." Putin emphasized that it wouldn't do to overestimate these threats, but underestimating them is equally unreasonable since bin Laden has connections with radical organisations based in Pakistan, a country that possesses nuclear potential.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced the termination of diplomatic relations with NATO at a time when US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin ended a meeting in Georgia with his counterpart