The Kremlin has reportedly said that Vladimir Putin plans to have submarines equipped with "super torpedoes" in the Pacific Ocean by the end of the next year. The concerning new weapons, called Poseidon torpedoes, were announced by Moscow four years ago.
The weapons are thought to be a cross between a drone and a torpedo - and capable of delivering both conventional and nuclear warheads. The Russian News Agency TASS say they are to be deployed on the Belgorod and Khabarovsk nuclear submarines.
The Pentagon's Nuclear Posture Review first acknowledged Russia's development of a "new intercontinental, nuclear armed, nuclear-powered, undersea autonomous torpedo" back ins 2018.
In spite of the heightening tensions and increased concerns, National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson said the US government had not had "any indications Russia is preparing to use a nuclear weapon", the Daily Star reports
Reports of the new strategic nuclear deterrent arrives following heightened tensions over Belarus. Tactical nuclear weapons will be stored there, Russia has announced.
Ukrainian officials have condemned the move, with the nation sharing a northern border with Belarus. Ukraine’s top security official, Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council, said Russia was now effectively keeping its ally as a “nuclear hostage” following the announcement.
Russia has been vocal in its justification of the move, claiming that it has done so as a response to what it perceives as increased support for Ukraine from the west. Putin specifically pointed to a move made by the UK to provide Ukraine with depleted uranium-filled armour-piercing rounds.
Speaking about the decision, Putin said: “We are doing what they have been doing for decades, stationing them in certain allied countries, preparing the Ulaunch platforms and training their crews”.
Mr Danilov has been clear in the denunciation of the move and said it was “a step towards internal destabilisation” and was a furtherment of “the level of negative perception and public rejection” felt by the people of Belarus towards Russia and Putin.
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He added that the move, “took Belarus as a nuclear hostage”.
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