Russian nanotechnology "weapons": defensive or offensive?

Although it is distressing to read the headline from ITAR-TASS “Russia to design nanotechnology weapons — commander“, when one reads the text, at first these “weapons” sound more like defensive protection than offensive weapons:

Principally new weapons based on nanotechnology will be designed in Russia within 15 years for combating radiation, chemical and biological terrorism, the chief of the Russian Radiation, Chemical and Biological Defence Troops, Colonel-General Vladimir Fillipov, told ITAR-TASS on Tuesday.

“In the conditions of the increasing threat of radiation, chemical and biological terrorism, specialists of the troops take an active part in the development of systems and complexes for ensuring safety of facilities of state importance,” he said.

But next, there is also mention of “arms”:

“The result of interaction of the troops with research organisations of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the industry has been the creation of a scientific-technological basis that allows looking with cautious optimism at the development of arms and means of radiation, chemical and biologic defence within 15 years,” Filippov said.

He said he pinned hopes on the Programme of Coordination of Work in the Field of Nanotechnology and Nanomaterials that “will allow developing advanced arms and means of radiation, chemical and biological defence at a new qualitative level”.

This is a translation issue. Do they mean defensive-only technologies, or offensive as well? It would be great to get a clarification on this. —Christine

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