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Putin says he hopes Russia never needs to use nukes against Islamic State

By
Doug G. Ware

MOSCOW, Dec. 9 (UPI) -- President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin on Wednesday indicated that nothing is off the table when it comes to fighting Islamic State terrorists -- including the prospect of digging into Moscow's nuclear arsenal.

During a discussion with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, broadcast by the state-sponsored RT news agency, Putin said the nation must use whatever means possible to defeat militants determined to wreak havoc in their jihad against the world.

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"We certainly need to analyze everything that is happening on the battlefield," Putin said before citing rockets in Russia's arsenal. "These are new, modern and highly effective high-precision weapons that can be equipped either with conventional or special nuclear warheads."

"Naturally, we do not need that in fighting terrorists, and I hope we will never need it," he continued. "But overall, this speaks to our significant progress in terms of improving weaponry."

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Putin's remarks come amid repeated airstrikes by Moscow against terror targets in Syria, first launched weeks ago as the Russian government aims to step up its fight against militants.

Tuesday, Putin's regime announced a new round of strikes from a Russian submarine in the Mediterranean against a terror stronghold in Syria.

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Despite Putin's mention of nuclear weapons, the Russian president and other officials emphasized that such a drastic step would certainly come as only a last resort.

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"There is no need to use any nuclear weapons against terrorists," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said. "They can be defeated through conventional means, and this is fully in line with our military doctrine."

Nuclear weapons have only been used in warfare twice in history, on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan, during the U.S. campaign in the Pacific Theater in World War II.

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