Illustration photo – Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered a state of the country speech to lawmakers on February 21, 2023.
Moscow – Russia will pay increased attention to strengthening its nuclear forces, President Vladimir Putin said today in a speech on the occasion of Defender of the Fatherland Day, which was broadcast on Russian state television. According to him, Russia will transfer the new Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile to combat readiness, will continue the production of Kinzhal hypersonic missiles and will also add new nuclear submarines to its fleet in the coming years. US Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, on the other hand, told the Russian state agency TASS that the United States is ready to return to talks with Russia on limiting strategic nuclear weapons “maybe as early as tomorrow”.
A year since the invasion of Ukraine, Putin has indicated that he is ready to dismantle the entire nuclear arms control architecture, including the moratorium on nuclear tests. All this until the West stops supporting Ukraine, Reuters wrote. In connection with this, on Tuesday he announced Russia's departure from the latest agreement with Washington on nuclear disarmament. The New START treaty signed in Prague in 2010 stipulated, among other things, that both sides must reduce to 1,550 the number of strategic nuclear warheads, i.e. weapons that can be used at a long distance. However, Russian diplomacy said a few hours after Putin's announcement that Moscow would continue to observe the limits set out in the treaty.
The United States is ready to start talks regarding the implementation of the New START agreement as early as tomorrow, Deputy Nulandová said in an interview given to TASS. “We are ready to start doing it tomorrow if the Russian Federation is ready for it. We are also ready to allow inspections,” she said when asked if Washington was ready for negotiations without mutual accusations and preconditions. She called the suspension of the agreement by the Russian president “irresponsible”. “The US and Russia bear a great responsibility towards the whole world for maintaining the security of nuclear arsenals. We must fulfill our task,” she added. “The US is ready to return to talks to ensure the implementation of New START from the very beginning,” she emphasized, according to TASS.
In a speech today to mark Defender of the Fatherland Day, known in Soviet times as Red Army Day, Putin referred to the Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany and argued that Russia needed a modernized armed force to ensure its sovereignty.
” As before, we will pay increased attention to strengthening the nuclear triad,” the Russian president said, referring to nuclear missiles on land, at sea and in the air. He added that this year, for example, the new Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missiles, nicknamed Satan II in the West, will be deployed.
The Sarmat missile was first unveiled by Russia in 2018. According to Russian media, it has a range of around 18,000 kilometers and is capable of carrying several nuclear warheads. Each can be aimed at a different target. It is to replace the R-36M Vojevoda missile. The missiles were supposed to be deployed last year, Reuters wrote.
The server of the American television station CNN reported that around the time of Monday's visit of American President Joe Biden to Ukraine, Moscow apparently conducted an unsuccessful test of this new ballistic missile. Russia denied CNN's information.
As Vladimir Putin also stated today, Russia will continue mass production of Kinzhal hypersonic missiles and begin mass deliveries of Zircon hypersonic missiles, which will be used by the Russian Navy.
“By including the Tsar Alexander II nuclear submarine in the Navy, it will the share of modern weapons and equipment in the naval strategic nuclear forces is 100 percent,” the Russian president said. “In the coming years, three more cruisers will complement the combat power of the fleet,” he added.
According to Putin, Russian soldiers will also receive “new strike systems, surveillance and communication tools, drones and artillery systems,” the Meduza news portal quoted from the speech .
In an interview with TASS, Nuland assured that the US does not want a conflict with Russia, but only wants Russia to withdraw from Ukraine. She also stated that America will supply weapons to Ukraine as long as needed. “As long as Ukraine has to fight for its survival against Russian attacks, we will support Ukraine's ability to defend itself and the restoration of its territorial integrity and sovereignty,” the American diplomat said.