We have nuke missile strike edge - Vladimir Putin
The Cuban Missile Crisis erupted in 1962 when Moscow responded to a US missile deployment in Turkey by sending ballistic missiles to Cuba, sparking a stand-off that brought the world to the brink of nuclear war.
More than five decades on, tensions are rising again over Russian fears the US might deploy intermediate-range nuclear missiles in Europe as a landmark Cold war-era arms control treaty unravels.
Putin’s comments this week follow his warning that Moscow will match any US move to deploy new missiles closer to Russia by stationing its own missiles closer to the US or by deploying faster missiles or both.
Putin fleshed out his warning in detail for the first time, saying Russia could deploy hypersonic missiles on ships and submarines which could lurk outside US territorial waters if Washington now moved to deploy intermediate-range nuclear weapons in Europe.
“(We’re talking about) naval delivery vehicles: submarines or surface ships. And we can put them, given the speed and range (of our missiles) in neutral waters. Plus they are not stationary, they move and they will have to find them,” Putin said, according to a Kremlin transcript.
“You work it out. Mach nine (the speed of the missiles) and over 1000km (their range).”
The US State Department dismissed Putin’s earlier warning as propaganda, saying it was designed to divert attention from what Washington alleges are Moscow’s violations of the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.
The pact, which banned Russia and the US from stationing short- and intermediate-range, land-based missiles in Europe, is in its death throes, raising the prospect of a new arms race between Washington and Moscow.
Putin has said he does not want an arms race with the US, but he would have no choice but to act if Washington deployed new missiles in Europe, some of which he says would be able to strike Moscow within 10-12 minutes.
Putin said his naval response to such a move would mean Russia could strike the US faster than US missiles deployed in Europe could hit Moscow because the flight time would be shorter. “It (the calculation) would not be in their favour; that’s for sure,” said Putin. Relations between Moscow and Washington were strained, but the tensions “are not a reason to ratchet up confrontation to the levels of the Cuban Missile Crisis in the 1960s”, he said. Reuters