Russia’s most advanced hypersonic weapons will be capable of defending the country, even if the Treaty on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (the New START Treaty) is terminated, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a meeting with the heads of international news agencies on Thursday.
The Russian leader made this statement, responding to a question from TASS Director General Sergei Mikhailov.
As the Russian leader recalled, in 2002 the United States quit the ABM (Anti-Ballistic Missile) Treaty. "This was the first step towards fundamentally shaking the entire framework of international relations in the sphere of global security, a very serious step," Putin said.
"Dear ladies and gentlemen, I want to ask you: did any of you actively protest or take to the streets with placards? No, there was calmness, as if this was what should be," the Russian leader remarked.
Now the United States has actually decided unilaterally to terminate its participation in the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, the Russian president noted.
Moreover, if in the case with the ABM Treaty they "behaved honestly and simply withdrew unilaterally and this was all," now, "apparently understanding that they will have to bear responsibility for that, they are trying to shift [the responsibility for that] onto Russia," Putin said.
The Russian president recalled the INF clauses on the ban on placing the launchers of intermediate-and shorter-range missiles on the land, stressing that despite this, the United States had delivered such launching systems to Romania and was going to deploy them in Poland.
"This is a direct breach [of the INF Treaty]," the Russian leader stressed.
Putin also drew attention to other armaments that were being developed. "All are pretending as if they do not see anything in this regard, do not hear, cannot read and are deaf and blind. But we are forced to react to this somehow," the Russian president is quoted as saying by TASS.
As Putin stressed, in case that the New START Treaty is terminated in 2021, "there will generally be no instruments limiting the arms race;" however, up to now, no party is holding negotiations with Russia on extending the New START Treaty, although Moscow has numerously confirmed its readiness for this process.
"Well, it is possible not to extend it. We have the most advanced systems that will reliably ensure Russia’s security for quite a long historical perspective: I mean we have made a major step forward and it can be said directly that we have outpaced our rivals in creating hyper[sonic] weapons," Putin said.