Russia ups nuclear stakes after Georgia threat

Russia is to beef up its nuclear arsenal in the next 12 years, including building its own missile shield in space and commissioning more atomic submarines.

President Dmitri Medvedev said the stand-off with the West over Georgia last month made such reinforcement necessary.

Medvedev made the announcement as he watched Russian troops on manouevers in the southern Urals.

Russia has been strengthening its friendships in recent weeks. Venezuela is loudly trumpeting closer ties with Moscow.

Russian bomber planes recently visited Venezuela, prompting Washington to say they would be watched closely. Hours later the American ambassador in Caracas was expelled.

Now the two countries have just signed a joint energy pact, and are to engage in joint military exercises. Russia’s most modern nuclear warship is presently on its way to Venezuela for the planned war games.

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