VLADIMIR PUTIN: Good afternoon dear colleagues!
We met several days ago in almost the same company to discuss the strategic development of nuclear energy in the Russian Federation and came to the conclusion that we must make much-needed changes in this sphere.
At the same time we clearly understand that any modernization in the nuclear field concerns an extremely important and crucial sphere, namely maintaining and ensuring the reliable operation of the national nuclear weapons complex.
When looking at today's international situation and the prospects for its development, Russia is compelled to realize that nuclear deterrence is a key element in guaranteeing the country's security. And the Russian nuclear weapons complex constitutes the material basis for this nuclear deterrence policy.
During the last few years a great deal of work has been done to develop the nuclear weapons complex, related technologies, and nuclear deterrence capabilities. A number of background documents that define the Russian Federation's policy in this area have been developed and accepted. Keeping the necessary minimum of nuclear weapons that will guarantee accomplishing tasks of nuclear deterrence remain two of the main priorities of the Russian Federation's policy in this area.
According to the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty adopted in 1996, we must continue to make sure that Russian nuclear weapons correspond to today's requirements concerning effectiveness and nuclear security.
I know that when working on the project for the governmental weapons programme for 2007-2015, the Defence Ministry of the Russian Federation and other ministries and departments have done a great deal of important work to ensure that balanced development occurs in the weapons complex as a whole. All variants are being examined in view of the government's real capacities to finance the planned projects.
Today we must consider the prospects for developing and implementing measures that will ensure the steady functioning of the nuclear weapons complex of the Russian Federation.
This theme is a very important one and I hope that we shall have a constructive and business-like discussion.