U.S. dismisses Putin's invincibility talk, boasts of own 'unmatched' arsenal

Hannah Rogers
March 6, 2018

Intercontinental ballistic missiles are similar to rockets that shoot satellites and people into orbit, but ICBMs carry warheads and hit targets on Earth.

Last week President Putin said, during his annual address to the Federal Assembly, that Russian Federation has developed an invincible new cruise missile and warned that any use of nuclear weapons against Russian Federation or its allies will be viewed as a nuclear attack and would trigger an immediate response from Moscow.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has urged the Federal Security Service (FSB) to step up its cybersecurity efforts and strengthen measures to protect secret and sensitive communications.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said during a press conference the day the charges were announced that the Department of Justice had begun the process of negotiating with Russian Federation to have the defendants extradited to the U.S. to face trial. He played videos of warheads targeting what appeared to be a map of Florida, as he complained the US repeatedly ignored Russian objections to its missile-defense shield.

Russia's constitution forbids the extradition of Russian citizens in most cases, and the US and Russia do not have an extradition agreement. The President also instructed the officers to enhance Russia's information space protection from cyber threats. Putin claimed the missile could render USA defenses "useless".

Critics warn that new systems encourage competitors to develop more sophisticated weaponry, are pricey and have dubious effectiveness. The two agreed that "Putin's recent statements on nuclear weapons development were irresponsible", according to an official readout of the call. The Extradition Clause in the US Constitution requires states, upon demand of another state, to deliver a fugitive from justice who has committed a "treason, felony or other crime" to the state from which the fugitive has fled. "Nobody, but Russian Federation, has a hypersonic weapon", the source underlined.

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While Russia may have achieved a technological breakthrough, it's just as likely that "the Kremlin is counting on a miracle", said Alexander Golts, an independent defense analyst based in Moscow. He also pushed for an increase in hypersonics as part of this year's budget process, he said.

"Then you have to understand what it takes is an official request to the general prosecutor of the Russian Federation", Putin said.

White didn't say whether Russian and Chinese threats would be mentioned in the new policy.

He denied any knowledge of their actions and added that the defendants "do not represent the Russian state" or "the Russian authorities".

According to one military-diplomatic source, Russian Federation has begun series production of the Avangard missile-hypersonic vehicle complex, and the Khinzhal hypersonic cruise missile, which is launched from the MiG-31M high altitude interceptor, is already "on duty".

Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout being extradited to the United States in 2010 (from Thailand).

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