In a speech to commemorate the Defender of the Fatherland public holiday on Thursday and the day before the first anniversary of his invasion of Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin stated that Russia will continue to pay greater attention to bolstering its nuclear forces.
Putin’s remarks come after he suspended a bilateral nuclear weapons control agreement with the US.
Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missiles, a weapon capable of transporting numerous nuclear warheads, will be launched for the first time this year, according to Putin.
While referring to land, sea and air-based nuclear missiles, Putin said, “As before, we will pay increased attention to strengthening the nuclear triad.”
In a statement issued by the Kremlin, Putin remarked, “We will continue mass production of air-based hypersonic Kinzhal systems and will start mass supplies of sea-based Zircon hypersonic missiles.”
Russia has sent a ship armed with the hypersonic missiles to South Africa, where military drills with China are set to start on Friday.
Putin and US President Joe Biden had a verbal altercation, emphasizing the global tensions between the two countries.
On Tuesday, Putin suspended the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) with the United States, charging it for arming Ukraine in the conflict and turning it into a global one.
Biden stated that the United States and its NATO partners were defending democracy and freedom in Ukraine during a surprise visit to Kyiv on Monday.
However, he added, “I don’t read into that that he’s thinking of using nuclear weapons or anything like that.” On Wednesday in Warsaw, Biden cautioned that the suspension of START was a “big mistake.”
A senior Russian defense official said that Russia promised to adhere to the agreed-upon restrictions on nuclear missile deployments and to keep Washington informed of any modifications.
Biden pledged that the United States would “literally protect every inch of NATO,” the military alliance that includes some Eastern European nations bordering Russia, after meeting with the leaders of NATO’s eastern flank in Warsaw.
The Kremlin considers NATO as a potential threat and that it could very soon increase its membership to include Sweden and Finland.
Russia’s “new frontiers” with China
Welcoming Wang Yi, China’s top diplomat, to the Kremlin on Wednesday, Putin declared that Chinese President Xi Jinping would visit Russia and noted that relations had hit “new frontiers.”
Xi is scheduled to deliver a “peace speech” on Friday, but Ukraine claims that talks of peace are futile as long as Russian soldiers are stationed there.
Beijing’s potential to financially back Moscow’s war in Ukraine worries Washington.
China will “firmly adhere to an objective and impartial stance and play a constructive role in the political settlement of the crisis,” according to Wang, who was cited by the Russian TASS news agency.
Through an interpreter, Wang emphasized that the connection between China and Russia was not intended to harm any third parties, but in a clear dig at the United States, he said the nations would “not yield to pressure from third parties.”
The Ukraine war has caused millions of people to be displaced, destroyed Ukrainian cities, towns, and villages, and disrupted the global economy. It is the largest land battle in Europe since World War Two.
On Wednesday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned Russia’s incursion as a breach of international law and the founding UN Charter and criticized it for making threats of using nuclear weapons.
“We have heard implicit threats to use nuclear weapons. The so-called tactical use of nuclear weapons is utterly unacceptable. It is high time to step back from the brink,” Guterres said.