- Russian state media on Sunday identified five US targets Russia would seek to destroy in a nuclear war and claimed that Russia’s new Zircon missile could strike less than five minutes after launch, Reuters reported.
- Days earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin threatened the US and said he was ready for a “Cuban missile-style crisis.”
- Russia has said that if the US positions new missiles in Europe, it could send ships and submarines armed with new hypersonic weapons to lurk off the US’s coast.
Days after President Vladimir Putin threatened the US, a Russian state TV channel pinpointed places in the US that Russia would target in a nuclear war with its new Zircon missile, said to travel at up to nine times the speed of sound, according to Reuters.
The targets listed in Russia-1’s broadcast on Sunday evening were the Pentagon, Camp David, Jim Creek Naval Radio Station in Washington, Fort Ritchie in Maryland, and McClellan Air Force Base in California, according to Reuters and the Russian media outlet Sputnik. The latter two have been closed for about two decades, making them odd choices, Sputnik said.
Russia-1 claimed that the Zircon missile Russia is developing could strike critical US targets less than five minutes after launch, Reuters reported.
Tensions have been flaring between the US and Russia since the two countries earlier this year walked away from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, a Cold War-era nuclear arms agreement that NATO and the US have accused Russia of violating. Observers have said the collapse of this bilateral pact risks escalating an arms race between the two nuclear powers.
Russia is particularly concerned about the possibility that the US will position new missiles in Europe. Washington has said it has no plans to do so.
In his state-of-the-nation address on Wednesday, Putin threatened to target countries housing the missiles and US decision-making centres with new weapons if the US were to take that step.
It was during that speech that the president unveiled the Zircon missile, a hypersonic weapon he said could fly at nine times the speed of sound and strike targets 620 miles away.
Putin also said Russia was ready for a “Cuban missile-style crisis” if the US wants one, adding that Russia could arm its submarines with hypersonic weapons and let them lurk off the US’s coast, Reuters reported.
Retired Russian Rear Adm. Vsevolod Khmyrov told reporters on Thursday that Russian ships and submarines could each carry up to 40 Zircon missiles.
“For now, we’re not threatening anyone, but if such a deployment takes place, our response will be instant,” Russian state media said Sunday evening, according to Reuters.
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