MOSCOW, OCT. 3 -- The Defense Ministry today denied a report broadcast on state-run television that nuclear warheads had been removed from areas where there was a risk of ethnic unrest.
The report, aired Monday night on the TV news show "Vremya," quoted "foreign news organizations" as saying that the Defense Ministry was removing nuclear weapons from regions hit by ethnic conflicts. Vremya said the ministry was redeploying them in the Russian republic.
The ministry's denial was published in the military newspaper Red Star and carried by the official Tass news agency. "The information does not correspond to reality," a ministry spokesman was quoted as saying.
On Friday, The Washington Post quoted the Soviet armed forces chief of staff, Gen. Mikhail Moiseyev, in an interview in Moscow, as saying that warheads had been removed from areas threatened by ethnic unrest.
The newspaper said Western defense analysts believed the warheads had been removed from Central Asia; the southern Transcaucasus region, the scene of sometimes violent ethnic and nationalist unrest; and the Baltic republics, which are seeking independence.
Moiseyev, who is touring the United States, was also quoted in the Post as saying that similar actions had been taken to ensure the security of non-nuclear weapons.