Friday, 18 October, 2019

Russian President Vladimir Putin Warns U.S. Against Putting Missiles in Europe

Putin was elected to a fourth term last year with more than 76 percent of the vote Russia's Putin to give annual address as popularity slides
Patty Aguilar | 20 February, 2019, 16:42

Putin addressed both houses of parliament as he faces an unprecedented fall in his approval ratings.

Russia's new Zircon missiles, which Putin claimed fly at nine times of the speed of sound and have a range of 620 miles, are part of its ongoing effort to upgrade its defensive capabilities against what it regards as an increasingly hostile U.S.

"Russia does not intend to be the first to deploy such missiles in Europe", Putin said during an annual state of the nation address.

The US has repeatedly accused Russian Federation of violating the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty by developing banned weapons and earlier this month Donald Trump said America was starting a process to withdraw from the deal. While the USA says it won't deploy new land-based nuclear weapons in Europe, it's developing intermediate-range conventional missiles for ground deployment.

The intermediate-range weapons were seen as particularly destabilizing as they take shorter time to reach their targets compared to the intercontinental ballistic missiles.

"Russia will be forced to create and deploy types of weapons which can be used not only in respect of those territories from which the direct threat to us originates, but also in respect of those territories where the centres of decision-making are located", he said.

"These weapons, by their tactical and technical specifications, including their flight time to the command centers I'm talking about, will fully correspond to the threats that will be directed against Russian Federation".

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The president didn't specify which of the prospective Russian weapons will do the job, but he reported a quick progress on an array of new weapons presented a year ago.

The Russian leader emphasized the need to modernize the nation's infrastructure, adding that 60 airports will be revamped in the next six years.

He did not announce new missile deployments, said money for new systems must come from existing budget funds and declared that Moscow would not deploy new land-based missiles in Europe or elsewhere unless Washington did so first.

Russia's relations with the US have sunk to post-Cold War lows over Russia's 2014 annexation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula, its support for the Syrian government in the war in Syria and the allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 USA presidential election.

The Russian land-based missiles that now target the United States are based on Russian territory and therefore the flight time to major USA population centers would be longer than for US missiles deployed in Europe.

Putin promised Russians that he would raise welfare payments, improve education and the struggling health care system and remove toxic dump sites from cities.

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