Russian expert: US reduces role of strategic nuclear weapons in its armed forces

The US is playing down the significance of strategic nuclear weapons in its armed forces, Lieutenant-General Leonid Ivashov, a Russian expert and Vice-President of the Academy of Geopolitical Problems, believes.

Ivashov told a news conference that this was confirmed by the fact that US Congress approved last week a draft law lifting the ban on research in the sphere of small nuclear weapons.

Small nuclear warheads of a five-kiloton power are used in tactical nuclear weapons - air bombs, unguided missiles and torpedoes. "The US is trying to rank tactical nuclear weapons with conventional arms. Thus, tactical nuclear weapons become weapons of everyday use," Ivashov said.

The Russian State Duma has already ratified the Russian-US treaty on Strategic Offensive Reductions and the Federation Council will consider the issue on Wednesday.

In line with the treaty, by 2012 Russia and the US should cut their strategic nuclear warheads to 1,700 and 2,200 respectively. However, the two countries have the right to store dismantled nuclear warheads.

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