A top Russian general aimed tough remarks at the US on Monday before Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's visit, reconfirming plans for multiple-warhead missiles and warning Washington that refitting rockets with conventional warheads would raise the risk of nuclear war.
Lt. Gen. Andrei Shvaichenko's comments quoted by Russian news agencies come as Moscow and Washington seek to negotiate a replacement for a 1991 arms control treaty that expires at the end of the year. It is a major element in their efforts to mend relations that were badly strained during the Bush administration.
Clinton meets Tuesday with President Dmitry Medvedev and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Her visit will test Russia's willingness to cooperate on issues, including arms control and Iran's nuclear program, in the wake of President Barack Obama's recent decision to scrap a missile-defense plan that Moscow vehemently opposed.
Shvaichenko's words appeared designed to remind the US of Russia's nuclear might and press it to heed Moscow's concerns.