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The New Arab

Russian MP calls for nukes to be stationed in Syria

Gutenev has called for Russia to deploy nuclear weapons in Syria [Getty]

Date of publication: 27 August, 2018

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A Russian MP has called for nukes to be deployed to Syria, where Moscow has a huge military presence.

A Russian lawmaker has called for nuclear weapons to be deployed in Syria, where Moscow has established a number of military bases, the country's official news agency has reported.

MP Vladimir Gutenev also demanded Moscow tear up non-proliferation treaties with the US and position "tactical nuclear weapons" at a key military base in Syria, according to TASS news agency.

"Russia should possibly suspend the implementation of treaties on non-proliferation of missile technologies, and also follow the US example and start deploying our tactical nuclear weapons in foreign countries," Gutenev said.

"It is possible that Syria, where we have a well-protected airbase, may become one of those countries."

Russia has established an airbase in Syria's coastal province in Latakia and expanded its sea port in Tartous

It has also built a number of smaller outposts in the country, where the Russian air force and military advisers have played a key role in Bashar al-Assad's fight-back against Syria rebels.

A report from Moscow's ministry of defence last week stated that Russia has deployed more than 63,000 soldiers to Syria, a figure hugely above previous official figures.

This number includes 25,738 ranking officers and 434 generals as well as 4,349 artillery and rocket specialists, the ministry added.

The admission by Moscow highlights a growing confidence of Russia about overseas deployments and also its role in Syria, where the Assad regime has recently taken control of huge rebel areas thanks to Russia military assistance.

Its air campaign has also been responsible for the deaths of thousands of Syrian civilians, who human rights groups saying hospitals, schools and markets have been regularly targeted in opposition areas.

Gutenev, who is also the first deputy head of the economic policy committee of the Russian parliament, called for Russia to take a stronger line against the US, including beefing up military support to Moscow's allies.

"I believe that now Russia has to draw its own 'red lines'. The time has come to ponder on variants of asymmetric response to the US, which are now being suggested by experts and are intended not only to offset their sanctions but also to do some retaliatory damage," he said.

He suggested that transactions for arms exports could be done through cryptocurrencies due to current US sanctions on Russia.

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