Russia admits: Superweapons not combat ready

A revision of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) that takes into account all of Russia’s prospective weapons is not possible, because several prototypes are not yet combat ready, Dmitry Novikov, First Deputy Chairperson of the State Duma International Affairs Committee, told Russian RT news agency.

“Russia has a number of developments, but, as a rule, there is quite a long period of time between the development of a new kind of weapon and when is placed on combat duty. And in this case that’s exactly the kind of situation we’re dealing with,” said the MP.

Novikov was commenting on a statement by US Defense Secretary Mark Esper that “all the new weaponry that Russia is seeking to acquire” must be included in the New START.

In May, US Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs Andrea Thompson said that Russia’s “Avangard” hypersonic gliding missile and the RS-28 “Sarmat” intercontinental ballistic missile are governed by the terms of the New START. On the other hand, Russia’s “Kinzhal” hypersonic missile system, the “Burevestnik” nuclear-powered low-flying stealth cruise missile with a claimed “unlimited range” and the “Poseidon” nuclear-powered unmanned underwater vehicle meet the Americans’ criteria for “a new class of strategic offensive weapons”.

The listed “superweapons” as well as the “Peresvet” combat laser system were unveiled by Russian President Vladimir Putin in March 2018.

The New START treaty, which came into force in February 2011, will expire in February 2021. The treaty limits both countries’ number of nuclear warheads and strategic carriers.

  Russia, USA, START

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