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No strategic concessions to US -- Russian general

MOSCOW, Nov 30 (Reuters) - A senior member of the Russian military on Friday ruled out any fundamental concessions by Moscow to the United States on strategic arms.

Speaking to journalists, Colonel-General Yuri Baluyevsky, first deputy head of the Russian general staff, said: "From the Russian side, there are no concessions, there have been none and there will not be any, on the question of anti-missile defence and strategic arms."

At a U.S.-Russian summit in the United States two weeks ago, President George W. Bush said Washington would reduce the number of its strategic weapons but made clear it would press ahead with plans to develop an anti-missile defence system opposed by Russia.

U.S. plans to build a missile defence shield against so-called "rogue" states will eventually lead it into conflict with the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty between the United States and the former Soviet Union.

The Bush administration says the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty is a vestige of the Cold War which can now be dispensed with. But Moscow sees it as a cornerstone arms agreement which should be preserved.

Washington on Thursday announced plans to conduct a fifth test in space over the Pacific Ocean on Saturday as part of its missile defence plans, adding that the test itself would not be a violation of the ABM treaty.

Baluyevsky said it could not be ruled out that sooner or later the United States would unilaterally break out of the treaty.

He said Russia did not believe Washington was yet in violation. But he added: "Certain elements indicate that Washington is close to breaking the clauses of the treaty."

It was not clear if this was a direct reference to Saturday's planned test over the Pacific.

Bush, at his U.S. summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, announced plans for U.S. strategic offensive weapons to be cut to between 1,700 and 2,200. Russia has said it is ready to cut the number of its strategic warheads to 1,500.

Baluyevsky said Russia had still not received from the United States an indication of what mechanism would regulate the cuts in the U.S. strategic stockpile and whether the warheads would be destroyed or not.

"A single handshake does not solve problems like that," Baluyevsky said.

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