Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 134

The Russian Foreign and Defense Ministries yesterday denied that the Russian armed forces had recently rehearsed repelling an attack by NATO, Polish, and Lithuanian forces — and that the Russian exercise had practiced the use of nuclear weapons in the process. The officials were responding to a story in the July 8 Washington Times which was said to be based on a Pentagon intelligence report. The story said that troops as well as nuclear-armed aircraft had been involved in the exercise. Moscow Military District spokesman Igor Petrischev admitted that a command-post exercise had been held in the district at the time mentioned in the Times article, but denied that any troops had participated. "The maneuvering was done only on the map," he said.

The Times report said that the exercise had taken place just a few days after the Helsinki Summit meeting of Presidents Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsin. An unidentified source in the Russian Defense Ministry, however, said that the Pentagon should instead have paid better attention to the successful test launch of a Russian Topol-M intercontinental ballistic missile from the Plesetsk cosmodrome during the Madrid NATO summit. This launch was the 4th test flight of this missile — a modernized SS-25. Unlike present Russian missiles, it has only Russian-built components and will be deployed in both silo-based and mobile versions.

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