Russian general links nuclear arms cuts to US missile shield

Russia will not cut its nuclear weapons until the US intentions for missile defense in Europe are clarified, Russia's top general said Friday. Gen. Nikolai Makarov, chief of the military's General Staff, was quoted by news agencies as saying that maintaining Russia's nuclear forces would remain the military's top priority. US President Barack Obama has put the missile defense plan on hold, but Russia wants Washington to scrap it altogether. Russian officials reject the US claim that the plan is meant to defend against potential threats from Iran. Russian officials insist those US plans be considered part of negotiations between Moscow and Washington on an agreement to reduce nuclear arsenals.