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Russia: Lebed Warns Of Global Effects If Country Explodes

Munich, 16 January 1997 (RFE/RL) - Former Russian security adviser Alexander Lebed has warned that a collapse of Russia could unleash a third world war in which nuclear weapons might be used.

In an interview with the prominent German newspaper, "Suddeutsche Zeitung," published in Munich, Lebed said that if his country explodes the pieces would fly around the world.

Lebed, who was dismissed from his post by President Boris Yeltsin in October last year, is on a private visit to Germany sponsored by the German Foreign Policy Association and a private organisation, the German-Russian Forum.

Lebed told the newspaper he would not try to overthrow Yeltsin but was ready to take measures to prevent Russia from falling into an abyss.

In a discussion on NATO's plans to expand eastward, he said that if he became Russian president he would patiently to see how NATO developed after the first phase of its expansion.

He blamed Russian autjhorities rather than NATO for the delay in developing an all-European security system. He said a visit to Brussels had convinced him that Russia did not make use of the opportunities offered by the West in its partnership-for-peace program.

He also said he believed Russia should have an embassy at NATO headquarters.