Russian DM says new anti-US missiles must be developed

Erika Holt
February 6, 2019

Russia's President Vladimir Putin (L), has approved plans for the development of new missiles with Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.

In instructions to his ministry on Tuesday, Sergei Shoigu called on the military to adapt existing technology to develop a land-based cruise missile and hypersonic missile that would previously have been banned by the intermediate-range nuclear forces (INF) treaty.

The stern message came in response to Moscow's threats of countermeasures should the USA leave the INF, a move Russian President Vladimir Putin and a number of his top officials have said could destabilize the global arms control regime. A stalwart of the Cold War's wind up is about to disappear and according to some analysts, Russian Federation and the United States are about to embark on another arms race.

Russian Federation conducted a partially successful test of its developmental nuclear-powered cruise missile, the Burevestnik, on January 29, 2019, according to USA government sources with knowledge of Russia's weapons programs who spoke to the The Diplomat.

NATO has said that U.S. allies "fully support" its withdrawal from the pact, and agreed that Russia's 9M729 ground-launched cruise missile systems violates the treaty.

'We Europeans can not remain spectators of our own security, ' French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly said on Tuesday at a conference in Portugal.

In the easing of Cold War tensions in the era after Mikhail Gorbachev became General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, the agreement was one of the strongest indicators that the Cold War was winding down because both sides, in effect, removed their intermediate range warheads from continental Europe.

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"By using sea- and air-based missiles on land, we can significantly cut down the new missiles' building time and cost", Shoigu told the briefing.

He also tasked defence officials with extending the maximum range of ground-based missiles that are being developed.

Putin said Russian Federation would not deploy its weapons in Europe and other regions unless the United States did so. For months, the USA has stated that, if Russian Federation failed to end an ongoing pattern of INF violations dating back five years, Washington would suspend its adherence to the 32-year treaty. It said Russian Federation was violating the treaty's terms and had six months to become compliant. At the time, in the late stages of the Cold War, the U.S. and its allies were mainly concerned by the perceived threat of Russian medium-range nuclear missiles that were targeted at Europe.

Korotchenko, who is editor of the National Defence journal, said it would be fairly easy to convert the seaborne Kalibr system for ground use as the defence ministry just needed to develop a land-based mobile launcher.

President of the National Strategy Institute Mikhail Remizov earlier noted that the main risk of a USA exit from the INF Treaty is the increase in tensions in East Asia and Europe.

Trump said the United States was suspending its obligations as of Saturday and starting a process to withdraw in six months.

On Monday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said his country would no "strive for an arms race, which was characteristic of the era of the Cold War".

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