Putin considers adopting pre-emptive nuclear strike policy

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday that his country is considering adopting a pre-emptive nuclear strike policy that has been used by the U.S. and would make the use of nuclear weapons by Russia more likely.

The policy allows Russia to use nuclear weapons if such weapons are launched against Russia or if the existence of the country is threatened.

At a summit of former Soviet nations in Kyrgyzstan, Putin said Russia is “thinking about” adopting something similar to the U.S. doctrine.

“Speaking about a disarming strike, maybe it’s worth thinking about adopting the ideas developed by our U.S. counterparts, their ideas of ensuring their security,” Putin said, smiling, according to the Associated Press.

Putin thinks Russian missiles superior

Putin also claimed that his cruise missiles are superior to America’s, and added that Russia has tested hypersonic missiles and the U.S. has not.

While the pre-emptive strike policy had been the U.S.’s position for years, in October the Pentagon rejected any limits on nuclear weapons use, citing Russia and China’s provocative behavior as grave threats that necessitated the change.

“[B]y the 2030s the United States will, for the first time in its history face two major nuclear powers as strategic competitors and potential adversaries,” the Pentagon said. The U.S. will “maintain a very high bar for nuclear employment,” it added.

Indeed, Putin’s threats seem to suggest that if he does launch missiles, it will be very difficult to stop them.

“I assure you, after the early warning system receives a signal of a missile attack, hundreds of our missiles are in the air,” Putin said, according to a Russian news outlet. “It is impossible to stop them.”

“There will be nothing left of the enemy, because it is impossible to intercept a hundred missiles. This, of course, is a deterrent — a serious deterrent,” he added.

Saber-rattling

White House advisors called Putin’s comments “saber-rattling,” but admitted they were disturbing.

With the Russia-Ukraine conflict getting bogged down as Ukraine holds its own, Putin warned that the risk of nuclear war may be rising. “The threat of nuclear war is growing,” Putin said, Fox News reported.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Friday called Putin’s repeated threats irresponsible:

As the Kremlin continues its cruel and unprovoked war of choice against Ukraine, the whole world has seen Putin engage in deeply irresponsible nuclear saber-rattling,” he said in a reference to Putin’s earlier nuclear threats without addressing his latest remarks. “So make no mistake, nuclear powers have a profound responsibility to avoid provocative behavior and to lower the risk of proliferation and to prevent escalation and nuclear war.

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