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Russian scientists call for lower level of nuclear combat readiness

Moscow, 24 October: The possibility of the accidental beginning of a nuclear war can be effectively reduced only by scrapping the concept of maintaining the nuclear arms at a high level of continuous combat readiness, Russian experts said in a report entitled "The lowering of the level of combat readiness of the nuclear forces of Russia and the United States as a way of lessening the nuclear threat."

The text of the report which was received by ITAR-TASS on Wednesday [24 October] had been prepared by Russia's leading scientists specializing in the field of strategic security. The key points of this report are due to be discussed in the Russian Academy of Sciences within the next few days.

One of the contributors to the report, Professor Vladimir Belous of the Academy of Military Sciences told ITAR-TASS on Wednesday that the presidents of Russia and the United States will be able to discuss and approve, during their forthcoming meeting, measures to lower the combat readiness of their nuclear weapons parallel to holding consultations on AMB-START matters and on the reduction of strategic arms.

"Unilateral, step-by-step moves are possible with a subsequent discussion of additional measures to build up confidence," Belous said.

According to him, "it is necessary to take into account that, as the two countries have immense nuclear arsenals, the task of lowering of the combat readiness level, if it is carried out by way of removing the warheads from the delivery vehicles, may prove to be difficult to accomplish because of the possible financial and technical problems associated with the storage, transportation and utilization of the dismantled charges."

"These circumstances have also to be taken into consideration during the November meeting of the presidents of Russia and the United States who will examine questions relating to a radical reduction of the nuclear arsenals of the two great powers," Belous said.

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