Putin vows to become ‘combat ready’ and boost Russia’s nuke weapons arsenal in 2019December 19, 2018
The Russian president specifically mentioned the new Kinzhal hypersonic missile and the Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle, which he said have no foreign equivalents.
Speaking at a meeting with the top military brass in Moscow he said such weapons will help ensure the country's security for decades to come.
Kinzhal has already been commissioned by the military and aircraft carrying the missiles have flown 89 patrol missions this year.
The high-speed Kinzhal – or Dagger – has been described by the Russian strongman "an ideal weapon" and can fly at almost 7,700mph across 1,250 miles to hit precise targets.
Avangard will enter service with the military next year.
The hypersonic intercontinental rocket is capable of travelling 20 times the speed of sound and can strike "like a meteorite, like a fireball", Putin has said.
"No one has hypersonic weapons yet, but we have it," Putin told the assembled military officers.
He also Russia would have to respond to the planned U.S. withdrawal from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.
The pact keeps intermediate-range U.S. and Russian missiles out of Europe.
Washington has spoken of quitting the treaty altogether unless Russia returns to what it calls "full and verifiable compliance."
The US delivered Russia a 60-day ultimatum earlier this month to come clean about what Washington says is a violation of the treaty.
The US claims the 9M729 cruise missile breaches the INF, which bans all land-based cruise and ballistic missiles with a range of 300 to 3,400 miles.
Putin denied his country was breaking the agreement and has in turn accused America of violating its terms.
Moscow claims deployment of anti-missile systems in Romania and Poland and the use of the Mk-41 vertical launching system in them is in violation of the treaty.
He said Russia has developed powerful airborne and sea-based cruise missiles in the past and could easily roll out land-based missiles if Washington walked away from the pact.
The Russian president argued that the pact represented "unilateral disarmament" for the Soviet Union, adding: "God only knows why the Soviet leadership did it."
He emphasized that with Russian strategic bombers and navy ships now armed with long-range cruise missiles, it makes the development of similar land-based weapons redundant.
"It makes no difference whatsoever if we have a Kalibr-armed submarine or aircraft carrying missiles or similar weapons ashore," he said.
"We can strike any targets within the range of 4,500 kilometers from the territory of Russia."
Since he came to office, Putin increased spending on Russia’s military including on futuristic new weapons.
In December 2018 it overtook Britain to become the world's second-largest arms producer after the United States.
Russia now accounts for 9.5 percent of a worldwide total of £314 billion.
The country has brought into service the SU 57 stealth fighter and the T-14 Armata tank, which are seen as rivals to weapons produced in the West.
Among the weapons it has been developing are a robot tank, laser cannon that can destroy satellites in space and a drone that can operate at minus 50C.
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