Russia says it has been developing hypersonic missiles to counter actions taken by the United States and NATO that damage military “parity” with Moscow.
Speaking at a news briefing on Tuesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said arms control treaties had been gradually broken over the past decades. He referred to a decision by Washington to quit the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM Treaty), signed between the US and the Soviet Union in 1972.
“We also faced certain steps on the part of the US and NATO, which actually damaged the existing parity, including the establishment of missile defense positional areas, the deployment of anti-missile launch systems in Romania and other countries in close proximity to our borders. This is the infrastructure that can also be used to launch attack missiles.”
Such actions require “measures to ensure Russia’s security” and guarantee the continuation of the parity that had been established, the Russian official said.
On Monday, Russia successfully tested another Tsirkon (Zircon) hypersonic cruise missile, a new addition to a series of Russian weapons President Vladimir Putin has termed “invincible.”
Launched from the Admiral Gorshkov warship located in the White Sea, the missile hit a surface target off the coast of the Barents Sea directly at a range of over 350 kilometers and the flight speed of 7 Mach, or seven times the speed of sound, the Russian Defense Ministry said.
In reaction to the tests, the Pentagon’s spokesman John Kirby said Russia’s new hypersonic missiles “could potentially lead to destabilization and pose a significant risk because they can carry a nuclear charge.”
In 2018, Putin said hypersonic missiles were part of a new generation of Russian weapons that could hit almost any point in the world and evade a US-built missile shield.