In his annual press briefing, Russian President Vladimir Putin answered a plethora of questions on various topics such as economics, the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown, Nagorno-Karabakh, and various military-related issues.
Notably, he spoke of hypersonic weapons, Russia’s defenses against hypersonic weapons and the development of the United States’ integrated anti-missile system which is specifically aimed at countering Russia’s strategic potential.
While answering to a question regarding Sergei Skripal’s alleged poisoning and the accusations that he was poisoned under order of the Russian government with Novichok, Putin said that he wasn’t specifically worried what it would come to because it was essentially an empty accusations and wasn’t true.
The question also was longer than that also asking if whether Putin considered that he was to blame for the pitiful relations between Russia, and the West – namely with the UK, the US and NATO, a a whole.
He, however, said that there are more pressing matters that are of concern rather than largely made-up accusations of poisoning, especially when it comes to NATO, the US and various weapon treaties.
“There are some other issues that cause our concern. We are forced to respond to them, to these questions.
But with all this, there is now a threat of termination of the New START Treaty.
Then there will be no restrictions at all associated with the arms race, nothing at all. A
And we initially called and are calling on our partners to extend this agreement for at least a year and to conduct substantive, as diplomats say, negotiations on what to do and how to live next.
We understand that Russia has developed types of weapons, modern, hypersonic systems that no one else in the world has. We are aware of this, but we are not opposed to taking this circumstance into account. But to this day, no one talks to us about this in any way.
Similar systems are being developed, by the way, in European countries – in Great Britain, in the same United States. But not yet, we understand this, but we are open for negotiations. But with us so far no one leads any. So answer your question: who is “white and fluffy” and who is “prickly and aggressive.
We have two or three bases, and in terroristically dangerous directions: in Kyrgyzstan, in Tajikistan, in Syria.
The other side, I mean the United States, has a huge network around the world.
Do you know how much our military budget is? 46 billion. In Great Britain it is much more. In the USA – 770 billion. Russia in terms of military spending is somewhere in the sixth place in the world. USA, China, Saudi Arabia, Great Britain, France, Japan – everything is ahead of us.
So who is white and fluffy and who is aggressive? Well, we appear to be not so aggressive. Not exactly fluffy, but, in any case, very fine looking, inclined to engage in dialogue and seek compromise solutions. I would like to say with the words of the cat Leopold from one of our cartoons: “Guys, let’s live together!””
The President noted that in response to the US deployment of a global missile defense system, Russia could either build its own or create superior weapons.
“Either build this missile defense system ourselves, or create systems that this missile defense system does not interfere with. We did it, it happened with the help of hypersonic weapons, including Avangard. Let me remind you, more than 20 Machs, a global range and not ballistic,” Putin said.
The recent tests of the promising Russian sea-based hypersonic missile “Zircon”, as noted by Putin, are very important, its adoption by the Russian army will affect the strategic balance of power.
The work on the Sarmat ICBM is also underway.
Путин раскрыл планы по оружию, над которым работает Россия pic.twitter.com/y3lTlEQc8v
— Кремлевский пул РИА (@Kremlinpool_RIA) December 17, 2020
The speed of the Russian Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle is capable of developing does not allow American interceptors to calculate its flight path, which makes this weapon invulnerable to US missile defense, Viktor Murakhovsky, a member of the expert council at the Russian military-industrial complex board said.
Earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin said during his annual press conference that the American missile defense system is not an obstacle to new Russian weapons, including the Avangard, which can reach speeds of more than Mach 20.
“It is known that in order to successfully defeat a target, an anti-aircraft missile must be guided to a pre-emptive point, that is, the trajectory of the target must be calculated, and then the missile is guided to this point. The target moves at a speed of several kilometers per second, so any maneuver leads to such lateral loads that no missile can withstand,” Murakhovsky explained.
The expert also recalled another promising Russian weapon, also capable of penetrating the American missile defense – the low-flying cruise missile of unlimited range “Burevestnik”.
“It is impossible to make a missile defense system that would block all directions, or rather, it is theoretically possible, but even 10 US military budgets will not be enough for this. continuous radar field at low altitudes and air defense systems that block all directions,” he said.
At the same time, Murakhovsky noted that Russia will not have to spend too much money on the latest weapons, since all these systems were originally created not for an offensive, but for guaranteed retaliation.
“As for the Vanguard, Petrel and Poseidon, we are talking about the purchase of fairly symbolic batches of these systems. The task is to have the means of a guaranteed retaliatory strike, regardless of the presence of the most advanced missile defense systems in the enemy, and for this there is a rather small number of such systems,” he said.
In the time of a renewed arms race, and pressure mounting from, more or less, every direction, Putin outlined a world in which Russia is forced to fend for itself and forward its interests.
With the US departing the INF Treaty, and now with the New START also in limbo, and likely going towards falling apart, the arms race and a new Cold War are more fact than fiction.
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- In Video: Russia Equips Its Strategic Forces In Orenburg With Avangard Hypersonic Missile Systems