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Putin says Russia could adopt US preemptive strike concept



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MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday that Moscow could adopt what he described as the US concept of using pre-emptive military strikes, noting that it has weapons to do the job, in a blunt statement amid rising Russia-NATO tension over Ukraine.

“We are just thinking about it. They are not afraid to talk openly about it over the years,” Putin said, referring to US policy, as he attended a summit in Kyrgyzstan of an economic union of Union nations. Former Soviet Union dominated by Moscow.

For years, the Kremlin has expressed concern about U.S. efforts to develop so-called Conventional Rapid Global Strike capabilities aimed at striking enemy strategic targets with weapons. usually accurate navigation anywhere in the world within an hour.

“Speaking of a disarmament strike, perhaps one should think about applying the ideas developed by our US partners, their ideas to ensure their security,” Putin said. with a slight smile, noting that such a pre-emptive strike was intended to knock down command facilities.

He claimed that Russia has put into service hypersonic weapons capable of carrying out such an attack, while the US has not yet deployed them. He also stated that Russia now has cruise missiles that surpass American equivalents.

While Putin seems to be referring to conventional precision-guided weapons when talking about the possibility of a strategic imitation of the United States, he specifically noted that the United States does not rule out the possibility of a first use of nuclear weapons. .

“If a potential adversary believes they can use preemptive attack theory and we don’t, that makes us think about the threats those ideas pose to us,” he said. defensive posture of other countries”.

In Washington, advisers to President Joe Biden viewed Putin’s comments as a “threat” and another implicit warning that he could deploy tactical nuclear weapons, according to a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity. Name.

The official noted that Russian military doctrine has long stated that Moscow reserves the right to first use nuclear weapons in response to large-scale military aggression.

Putin was asked on Wednesday at a conference in the Kremlin whether Russia could commit to giving up a preemptive strike and replied that such an obligation could prevent Russia from exploiting its nuclear arsenal. even if the country is under a nuclear attack.

“If it doesn’t use it first in any case, that means it won’t use it a second time either, because of the possibility of using it in the event of a nuclear attack on Our territory will be very limited,” he said. responded.

He further elaborated on that response Friday, saying that Russia’s nuclear doctrine is based on the concept of “launch on warning,” which envisions the use of nuclear weapons in the face of a nuclear attack. An impending nuclear attack was detected by the country’s early warning systems.

“When the early warning system receives a signal of a missile attack, we will launch hundreds of missiles that cannot be stopped,” he said with a laugh. “The enemy missile warheads will certainly reach the territory of the Russian Federation. But the enemy will also have nothing, because it is impossible to intercept hundreds of missiles. And this, of course, is an element of deterrence.”

Russia’s nuclear doctrine states that the country can use nuclear weapons if subjected to a nuclear attack or if faced with a conventional weapon attack that threatens the “existence” of the Russian state. .

Since sending Russian troops into Ukraine in February, Mr. Putin has repeatedly said that Moscow is ready to use “all available means” to defend its territory and dismissed Western criticism of the move. use nuclear weapons.

“I understand that ever since nuclear weapons, weapons of mass destruction appeared, everyone – all of humanity – has been worried about what will happen to the planet and all of us.” he said.

Aamer Madhani in Washington contributed.

Follow AP news on Ukraine at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

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