President says country must be prepared for threats 'both in peacetime, and – God forbid... in wartime'
Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered his security council to assess Russia's readiness to survive a nuclear, chemical or biological disaster and has told them to stockpile protective equipment if necessary.
The order was given during one of Putin's regular meetings with the council that is made up of the heads of Russia's intelligence, defence and law enforcement agencies. High-ranking ministers and the speaker of the Russian house of parliament are also permanent members of the group.
According to the government website, Putin told the council that it was important to review and potentially strengthen Russia's defence protocols against "nuclear, radiological, chemical and biological threats, both in peacetime, and—God forbid, of course—in wartime."
"We have to analyse to what extent they correspond to the realities of today and, if the need arises, make the required revisions," Putin said.
The Russian president also proposed to the council that Russia should begin developing and producing personal protective equipment against nuclear, biological or chemical threats. "In the near future we should set up an inventory of individual means of protection for citizens, to determine which of them have become theoretically and technically obsolete, and develop measures to replenish stocks of such assets in accordance with modern designs," Putin said.
During his address, Putin used the example of the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster in Japan to illustrate the the need for the new defences. He also said that Moscow should be wary about the safety of nuclear power plants and businesses that handle toxic chemicals and make sure that they follow updated procedures to avoid accidents. According to the country's state nuclear agency Rosatom, Russia has 10 nuclear power plants.