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Russian protest leader says Moscow needs to expand nuclear arsenal

Europe
08.03.2018
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Berlin (dpa) - Russian protest leader Alexei Navalny, a fierce critic of long-time President Vladimir Putin, has defended his country‘s decision to increase the number of nuclear weapons it has.

"Russia needs an atomic balance of power with the United States and to maintain and expand it," Navalny said in an interview published in Germany‘s Die Welt newspaper and the other publications in the Leading European Newspaper Alliance (LENA).

"Perhaps it‘s old-fashioned, but the danger of mutually assured destruction is a guarantee of security worldwide," he said.

Navalny would like to stand against Putin for the Russian presidency in elections set for March 18. Putin recently presented a new generation of Russian nuclear weapons to the world.

Navalny, 41, has been excluded from standing because he has a suspended prison sentence, and he has called for a nationwide boycott of what he says is a sham election intended to give Putin a "presidency for life."

Navalny has landed in jail many times for organizing mass protests against Putin‘s autocratic rule and corruption in the upper echelons of Russian society.

Russia has to cooperate with the West, Navalny says in the interview published on Thursday, but it must also be primed as long as countries like North Korea, Pakistan and the US stockpile nuclear weapons.

"I‘m sure the US is not a terrible place as the propaganda from the Kremlin would have us believe. But who knows who is sitting in the White House?" Navalny said. "Today it‘s Trump and tomorrow someone worse."

 

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