Russia must upgrade its arsenal of nuclear weapons as well as its conventional military forces because of NATO's eastward expansion, President Dmitry Medvedev said Tuesday. In a meeting with senior commanders, he said large-scale modernization of both the Army and Navy would begin in 2011. The declaration came despite his stated wish for improved relations with the US under President Obama and deep budget cuts in other areas that were announced earlier this week due to the economic downturn. But Medvedev insisted the Kremlin had the financial resources to carry out such an undertaking.
President Nicolas Sarkozy of France was considered likely to survive a vote of no confidence late Tuesday in Parliament over his decision to rejoin the NATO military command. As Sarkozy toured an industrial plant elsewhere, his defense minister sought to allay the concerns of legislators on both the left and right that a return wouldn't compromise France's independence or result in French troops coming under the command of officers from other countries. Four former prime ministers, two of them conservatives, have opposed the return publicly.