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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russia’s 'Nuclear Briefcase' Handed over to Shoigu

RIA Novosti

16:16 07/11/2012 MOSCOW, November 7 (RIA Novosti) - Anatoly Serdyukov has handed over Russia’s "nuclear briefcase" to Sergei Shoigu, who replaced him as Russia’s defense minister on Tuesday, a high-ranking defense ministry source told RIA Novosti on Wednesday.

Shoigu “has started to assume the duties and responsibilities of defense minister,” the source said.

“Yesterday he received the device to communicate with combat units of the strategic missile troops - the 'nuclear briefcase,'” he said.

A Defense Ministry spokesman said that Shoigu took office on Wednesday. He was reinstated into military service with the rank of Army Gen. by presidential decree.

“At the moment he is meeting with the top brass of the Russian armed forces, during which he is familiarizing himself with the current state of affairs in various spheres,” he said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin relieved Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov of his duties on Tuesday, and appointed Sergei Shoigu as his replacement. He said the move was intended to provide for an unbiased investigation into a high-profile corruption case.

Russia's Defense Ministry has recently become embroiled in a scandal over alleged real estate scams involving nearly $100 million.

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