MOSCOW, Feb. 15 (UPI) -- Russia has the right to use nuclear weapons if its sovereignty is threatened, Gen. Nikolai Makarov, head of the general staff, said Wednesday.
In an interview with Ekho Moskvy, a radio station in the capital, Makarov said the country should also maintain efficient conventional forces, RIA Novosti reported.
"Unfortunately, we are facing threats from a number of unstable states, where no nuclear weapons but well-trained, strong and mobile armed forces are required to resolve any conflict situation," Makarov said.
He described plans to modernize the nuclear arsenal. Those include adding 10 Borey class strategic nuclear submarines, bringing its Tu-160 Blackjack and Tu-95 Bear strategic bombers up to date and adding Yars mobile ballistic missile systems.
"We are certainly not planning to fight against the whole of NATO, but if there is a threat to the integrity of the Russian Federation, we have the right to use nuclear weapons, and we will," Makarov said.