Putin orders reciprocal Russian response to U.S. missile test
Moscow, Aug. 23, 2019 Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday ordered a like-for-like response to a recent U.S. missile test, which he said showed that Washington aimed to deploy previously banned missiles around the world.
The Pentagon on Monday said it had tested a conventionally-configured cruise missile that hit its target after more than 500 km (310 miles) of flight, its first such test since the demise of a landmark nuclear pact this month.
Washington formally withdrew from the Cold War-era Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) on Aug. 2 after accusing Moscow of violating it, a charge dismissed by the Kremlin.
The pact had prohibited land-based missiles with a range of 310-3,400 miles, reducing the ability of both countries to launch a nuclear strike at short notice.
Putin told his Security Council on Friday that Russia could not stand idly by, and that U.S. talk of deploying new missiles in the Asia-Pacific region “affects our core interests as it is close to Russia’s borders”.
U.S. Defence Secretary, Mark Esper, said this month he was in favour of placing ground-launched intermediate-range missiles in Asia relatively soon, and Putin complained this week that the U.S. was now in a position to deploy its new land-based missile in Romania and Poland.
“All this leaves no doubts that the real intention of the U.S. (in exiting the INF pact) was to … untie its hands to deploy previously banned missiles in different regions of the world,” said Putin.
“We have never wanted, do not want and will not be drawn into a costly, economically destructive arms race.
“That said, in the light of unfolding circumstances, I’m ordering the Defence Ministry, the Foreign Ministry and other appropriate agencies to analyse the threat to our country posed by U.S. actions, and to take exhaustive measures to prepare a reciprocal response.”
In spite his order, Putin said Russia remained open to talks with the U.S. aimed at restoring trust and strengthening international security.
The U.S. has said it has no imminent plans to deploy new land-based missiles in Europe. (Reuters/NAN)
United States mass protests demonstrate “deep-seated” crises: Putin
The mass protests across the United States after the killing of African American George Floyd are “a manifestation of deep-seated internal crises,” Russian President Vladimir Putin has said.
“In fact, we have been observing these crises for a long time,” Putin said in an interview with the “Moscow. Kremlin. Putin” TV program aired on Sunday.
“Group and party interests are put above the interests of the whole society and the people,” Putin said.
The coronavirus pandemic has also highlighted internal problems in the United States, he added.
Erdogan, Putin discuss Libya, Syria’s Idlib over phone
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Wednesday discussed developments in Libya and in the Syria’s Idlib over the phone, the Turkish Communications Directorate said.
They also discussed the anti-coronavirus precautions and the measures in the post-pandemic period, the directorate said in a statement.
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi announced on June 6 an initiative to end the Libyan conflict following his meeting in Cairo with Libyan east-based military commander Khalifa Haftar.
Libya has been locked in a civil war since the ouster and killing of the former leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. The power has been politically divided between two rival governments: the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) based in the capital Tripoli and a government in the northeastern city of Tobruk allied with the Haftar-led Libyan National Army (LNA).
Haftar’s forces launched a military operation against the GNA and the capital Tripoli in April 2019, before the GNA announced on June 4 the takeover of the entire Tripoli by expelling the rival east-based army.
Turkey has been supporting and providing military support to the GNA since a military pact was signed between the two sides last November.
Russia reserves right to retaliate for nuclear attacks: Putin’s decree
Russia reserves the right to retaliate for nuclear attacks, according to a decree on the fundamentals of Russia’s state policy of nuclear deterrence, which was signed by President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday.
“The Russian Federation reserves the right to launch a nuclear strike either in response to a similar attack or in the event of a threat to the existence of the state,” the decree reads.
It says Russia‘s policy is defensive in nature and is aimed at maintaining its capabilities at a level sufficient to ensure nuclear deterrence, guarantee the protection of its sovereignty and territorial integrity, and prevent aggression against the country or its allies.
With nuclear deterrence, Russia will take into account the deployment of hypersonic and laser weapons, missile-carrying and strike drones, missile shields, and nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction by potential enemies, it said.
Russia considers the creation and deployment of missile defense systems and strike systems in space as a threat, and its neutralization requires nuclear deterrence, it said.
Putin, Trump discuss G7 summit, oil markets over phone
Russian President Vladimir Putin had a phone conversation with his United States counterpart Donald Trump at the initiative of the United States side, discussing issues related to the Group of Seven (G7) Summit and oil markets, the Kremlin said Monday.
“Trump informed Putin about his idea of holding a G7 summit with the possible invitation of the leaders of Russia, Australia, India and South Korea,” it said in a statement.
The importance of enhancing the bilateral dialogue on strategic stability and confidence-building measures in the military sector was noted.
In addition, the presidents addressed world oil market developments in the context of implementing the OPEC+ agreement.
“It was stated that this multilateral agreement, reached with the active support of the presidents of Russia and the United States, would lead to a gradual restoration of oil demand and price stabilization,” it said.
Putin and Trump also touched upon space cooperation and fighting coronavirus, agreeing to continue contacts at various levels, according to the statement.