MOSCOW, December 4 (IslamOnline.net & News Agencies) - Moscow has threatened to use cruise missiles and strategic bombers in pre-emptive strikes outside its territories.
“If ordered, our missile-carrier aircraft will attack the terrorists with long-range, highly precise cruise missiles and aerial bombs,” Russia's air force chief Vladimir Mikhailov said Friday, November 3, reported Agence France-Presse (AFP).
The remarks came a few days after news reports expected a 16-member blue-ribbon committee formed by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan a year ago to recommend the use of force not just reactively, but preventively and before a latent threat becomes imminent.
Two Egyptian international law experts told IslamOnline.net the endorsement of such a controversial recommendation would be a violation of international law .
In his remarks to the ITAR-Tass news agency, the senior commander did not specify potential targeted countries.
Moscow previously accused neighboring Georgia, a former Soviet republic, of harboring Chechen independence-seekers.
The small mountainous republic pf Chechnya has been ravaged by conflict since 1994, with just three years of relative peace after the first Russian invasion of the region ended in August 1996 and the second began in October 1999.
At least 100,000 Chechen civilians and 10,000 Russian troops are estimated to have been killed in both invasions, but human rights groups have said the real numbers could be much higher.
Russia had threatened to launch pre-emptive strikes on “terrorist bases” worldwide but Mikhailov's remarks were the most direct and specific yet.
ITAR-Tass said Russia began mulling pre-emptive strikes after “Washington's regular employment of this method in international affairs.”
In the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, the US claimed the right to bombard and then invade Afghanistan after blaming the attacks on Al-Qaeda network of Osama Bin Laden, given refugee by the then ruling Taliban.
Similarly, Washington invaded UN member Iraq last year without a mandate from the UN Security Council and amid fierce opposition from most of its members, including veto-wielding Russia, France and China.
The US claimed, at the time, the main rational for the war was ridding Iraq of its weapons of mass destructions which could pose a threat to the American national security sometime in the future.
After months of scrutiny, top US weapons inspector in Iraq, Charles Duelfer, concluded the oil-rich Arab country has no weapons of mass destruction .