The Americans have torn up the INF nuclear treaty which prohibited land-based mid-range conventional and nuclear missiles. Russians expect the next step for the US is to bring mid-range nuclear missiles aimed at Russia to Europe as they did in the 1980s.
Putin has made it clear if that happens, the Russian response will not be simply to deploy its own land-based missiles aimed at European hosts of American missiles as was the case in the 1980s, but to also park such missiles under the waters of the Atlantic aimed at the US. Reuters:
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russia is militarily ready for a Cuban Missile-style crisis if the United States wanted one and threatened to place hypersonic nuclear missiles on ships or submarines near U.S. territorial waters.
The Cuban Missile Crisis erupted in 1962 when Moscow responded to a U.S. missile deployment in Turkey by sending ballistic missiles to Cuba, sparking a standoff that brought the world to the brink of nuclear war.
Putin’s comments, made to Russian media late on Wednesday, follow his warning that Moscow will match any U.S. move to deploy new missiles closer to Russia by stationing its own missiles closer to the United States or by deploying faster missiles or both.
Putin detailed his warning for the first time, saying Russia could deploy hypersonic missiles on ships and submarines which could lurk outside U.S. territorial waters if Washington now moved to deploy intermediate-range nuclear weapons in Europe.
“We’re talking about naval delivery vehicles: submarines or surface ships. And we can put them, given the speed and range of our missiles… in neutral waters. Plus they are not stationary, they move and they will have to find them,” Putin said, according to a Kremlin transcript.
“You work it out: Mach nine (the speed of the missiles) and over 1,000 km (their range).”
Putin said his naval response to such a move would mean Russia could strike the United States faster than U.S. missiles deployed in Europe could hit Moscow because the flight time would be shorter.
“It (the calculation) would not be in their favour, at least as things stand today. That’s for sure.” said Putin.
Relations between Moscow and Washington were strained, he added, but the tensions were not comparable to those of the Cuban Missile Crisis.
“They (the tensions) are not a reason to ratchet up confrontation to the levels of the Cuban Missile Crisis in the 1960s. In any case that’s not what we want,” said Putin. “If someone wants that, well OK they are welcome. I have set out today what that would mean. Let them count (the missile flight times).”