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Russia ready to strike anywhere around the world

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9:36am (UK)
Russia's Renews Threat to Strike Terrorists Abroad


A top Russian air force commander today said Russia can use cruise missiles fitted with conventional warheads to strike terrorists all over the world.

“Today we have high-precision, long-range, weapons that permit us to find terrorists in any point in the world and wreak the damage they deserve,” Col. Gen. Boris Cheltsov, the air force chief of staff, was quoted as saying.

A duty officer in the air force press service could not immediately confirm the report. He said Cheltsov was speaking at a conference marking the 90th anniversary of Russia’s Air Defence troops.

Cheltsov said that “the strategic cruise missiles that we have in our strategic nuclear silos, have the possibility of carrying conventional warheads, which are capable of very precisely destroying any terrorist base that is targeted,” Interfax reported. He said air-dropped bombs would also be used.

Earlier this week, the Air Force chief, Gen. Vladimir Mikhailov, was quoted as saying Russia could use its strategic bombers to unleash preventive strikes against terrorists.

Russian leaders have claimed a right to pre-emptive strikes before, for example threatening neighbouring Georgia that it would pursue Chechen rebels allegedly sheltering on its territory.

Following terrorist attacks in August and September, Russian President Vladimir Putin and other top military officials have been more pointed in their threats of pre-emptive strikes against terrorists abroad.

Neither the Soviet Union nor Russia has publicly conducted air strikes outside their borders, with the exception of the war in Afghanistan. Soviet pilots flew missions in Korea and during the Mideast wars of the 1960s-70s, but that was done covertly.

Separately, a top Georgian official today said his country had requested the Organisation for Security and Europe extend its observer mission on the Georgian-Russian border beyond this year in order to avoid “various provocative acts”.

Kornely Salia, director of the Georgian Interior Ministry’s border guard department, told Georgia’s Rustavi-2 television that Russian officials had renewed allegations Chechen rebels were moving across the border.

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