Topic: Russian missile forces
MOSCOW, May 18 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's most senior army officer issued a grim warning Thursday that the use of inter-continental ballistic missiles with conventional warheads could lead to devastating consequences.
Gen. Yury Baluyevsky, chief of the General Staff of Russia's Armed Forces, suggested the launch of the missiles carrying non-nuclear warheads could lead to members of the nuclear club launching a counterstrike.
"This [the use of non-nuclear ICBMs] may trigger an irreversible reaction in countries with nuclear arsenals because they will be unable to identify the type of warhead on a ballistic missile and its target," he said.
The general's comment came following the United States' declared intention to place non-nuclear warheads on its ICBMs.
"Our American colleagues say that they [missiles] can be used to kill bin Laden," he said, but suggested that this was not the best way to deal with the al-Qaeda leader and was "an expensive pleasure."
In this context, Baluyevsky called for an international legal framework for such missiles.
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The growing outright rivalry between the United States and China gives Russia more foreign policy weight, enabling it to assume the role of a balancer. So far it has been doing so rather skillfully. Today it may participate in a joint naval exercise with China that Beijing positions as outwardly anti-American. But tomorrow it can team up with the naval forces of the Old World.