October 31, 2008

Russia Denies Stolen Nukes Allegation

The Russian Foreign Ministry Friday said an allegation that a large number of the country's nuclear weapons have been stolen or gone missing is untrue.

The press and information department of the Russian ministry said in a statement that concern expressed by U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was unwarranted as Russia has maintained strict control of such atomic weaponry in the past, RIA Novosti said.

"Despite all the difficulties that our country faced in the early 1990s, Russia maintained very high standards of ensuring the safety and physical protection of its nuclear arsenals," the ministry department said.

"What worries me are the tens of thousands of old nuclear mines, nuclear artillery shells and so on, because the reality is the Russians themselves probably don't have any idea how many of those they have or, potentially, where they are," Gates said Tuesday after assuring the public no strategic or tactical nukes were likely missing.

RIA Novosti said Gates used his appearance at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace to call for increased negotiations between U.S. and Russian officials regarding additional arms reductions.