As Donald Trump prepares to discuss denuclearisation with Kim Jong-un, Russia has revealed its list of US nuclear strike targets.
Days after President Vladimir Putin said the Kremlin wouldn’t back away from a second “Cuban Missile”-style crisis, Russian state TV listed US facilities that Moscow would target in the event of a nuclear strike — including the Pentagon and the presidential retreat at Camp David, according to the New York Post.
With tensions mounting over Russian fears that the US might deploy intermediate-range nuclear missiles in Europe, Putin has said Russia would be forced to respond by placing hypersonic nuclear missiles on submarines near American waters.
Washington says it has no immediate plans to deploy such missiles in Europe and has dismissed Putin’s warnings as mere propaganda — but President Trump’s decision to leave the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty over an alleged Russian violation has freed it to start developing and deploying such missiles.
The Russian strongman has said Moscow does not want a new arms race, but has also ratcheted up his military rhetoric, which some analysts have viewed as a tactic to try to re-engage the US in talks about the strategic balance between the two powers.
On a Sunday evening broadcast, TV show Vesti Nedeli presenter Dmitry Kiselyov showed a map of the US and identified several targets that he said Moscow would want to hit in the event of a nuclear war.
The targets, which Kiselyov described as US presidential or military command centres, also included Fort Ritchie, a military training centre in Maryland closed in 1998; McClellan, a US Air Force base in California closed in 2001; and Jim Creek, a naval communications base in Washington state.
said the “Tsirkon” hypersonic missile that Russia is developing could hit the targets in less than five minutes if launched from Russian subs.
Hypersonic flight is generally taken to mean travelling through the atmosphere at more than five times the speed of sound.
“For now, we’re not threatening anyone, but if such a deployment takes place, our response will be instant,” he said.
Kiselyov once said Moscow could turn the US into radioactive ash.
Asked to comment on Kiselyov’s report, the Kremlin said Monday it did not interfere in the editorial policy of state TV.
UN HEAD URGES US, RUSSIA TO SAVE NUKE PACT
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has urged the US and Russia to preserve the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty and to extend the New START Treaty before it expires in 2021.
To lose the INF would make the world a more insecure and unstable place, he told the Conference on Disarmament at the United Nations in Geneva on Monday.
Washington announced on February 1 that it will withdraw from the treaty in six months unless Moscow ends its alleged violations.
“We simply cannot afford to return to the unrestrained nuclear competition of the darkest days of the Cold War. I call on the parties to the INF Treaty to use the time remaining to engage in sincere dialogue on the various issues that have been raised. It is very important that this treaty is preserved.”
He said New START was the only international legal instrument limiting the size of the world’s two largest nuclear arsenals, and its inspection provisions benefited the entire world, noting that global stockpiles of nuclear weapons were one-sixth of what they had been in 1985.
“I urge Russia and the United States to use the time provided by an extension to the treaty to consider further reductions in their strategic nuclear arsenals. I dream of the day when these bilateral arrangements become multilateral.”