Putin ‘needs another army’ says defence expert
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Back in 2018, Putin unveiled his plan for six terrifying new Russian weapons systems during a presidential address. And amid the Ukraine conflict, he has been testing out some of these horror weapons in launches. This includes the Sarmat, dubbed “Satan 2” by the West. The weapon can each the UK from Kaliningrad, a small Russian enclave in Europe, in around 200 seconds, according to Putin’s ally Aleksey Zhuravlyov.
But according to Victor Abramowicz, a defence expert from Curtin University, these weapons are just for show, and were built to deal with the perceived US threat.
In his 2018 speech, Putin stressed that he was concerned about the US’ “constant, uncontrolled growth of the number of anti-ballistic missiles”.
He warned that if Russia does not do something, it “will result in the complete devaluation of Russia’s nuclear potential”, meaning that all of Russia’ “missiles could simply be intercepted”.
This is why the unveiled weapons are aimed at US’ Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) programme, Mr Abramowicz explains.
But as the US would likely only target small numbers of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) launched by enemy states like North Korea or Iran, Mr Abramowicz believes the Russian response is an “overreaction”.
And a US government assessment had ruled that its BMD programme could hardly defend against even a small ICBM attack.
But Russia’s horror arsenal could unleash far more than a small attack.
He wrote in The Interpreter: “The Kremlin has a well-recognised (and hardly unique) strategic paranoia about any and all threats to Russia’s power, sensible or not.”
While this too may seem worrying, Mr Abramowicz seemed confident that neither world leader would press the red button.
He continued: “Despite some alarmist concerns about the impact of Russia’s new weapons, not much will change.
“The logic of mutually assured destruction endures because both sides can destroy the other comfortably.
“Instead, the main outcome will be to disadvantage Russia by eating a larger share of an already halved economic pie desperately needed for other purposes.”
But Russia has been ramping up its threats in recent months, particularly since putting its nuclear combat forces on “high alert”.
And as tensions with NATO heat up too, Russia has warned that it is edging closer towards its nuclear arsenal.
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Deputy Chairman of the Security Council of Russia Dmitry Medvedev said: “First, the pumping of Ukraine by NATO countries with weapons, the training of its troops to use Western equipment, the dispatch of mercenaries, and the conduct of exercises by the countries of the Alliance near our borders increase the likelihood of a direct and open conflict between NATO and Russia instead of their ‘war by proxy’.
“Second, such a conflict always has the risk of turning into a full-fledged nuclear war.
“Third, this will be a catastrophic scenario for everyone.”
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