Russia will insist on the right to pre-emptive nuclear strikes against aggressor countries in its new military doctrine, the head of the country's Security Council said on Wednesday.
Nikolai Patrushev told the Izvestia newspaper that his country would reserve the right to a nuclear first-strike in draft military guidelines currently being prepared for the Kremlin.
Previously Moscow has indicated it would use nuclear weapons in the case of a nuclear attack, or a major war.
Russia's ambassador to NATO, Dmitry Rogozin, said that the new doctrine was unconnected to the current negotiations with the US on nuclear weapons' reduction, and was purely as a deterrent.
According to Patrushev, nuclear weapons could be used in case of a nuclear attack, but also in "regional or even local wars."
"I want to emphasize that our military doctrine is transparent, so everyone knows under what security principles we work," Patrushev said.
The new doctrine is expected to be submitted to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev nearer the end of the year.
US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, in Russia for arms-control talks, told a Moscow radio station, Echo Moskvy, that the US did not permit a nuclear first-strike under its own military guidelines.
She also indicated that the US would allow Russian inspections of its nuclear facilities.
Washington and Moscow are currently trying to update their Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, signed in 1991 and which expires Dec 5.
Clinton also pointed out that the US President, Barack Obama, had called for a world without nuclear arms, and been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Western-leaning ex-Soviet states, such as Georgia and Ukraine, have accused Moscow of increased aggression in recent years, not least over last year's conflict between Russia and Georgia.