On December 9, the Associated Press reported that President Vladimir Putin stated Russia could adopt a US-style concept of "preemptive strikes", stressing that Moscow is in possession of advanced weapons to conduct such operations.
"We are just thinking about it. They weren’t shy to openly talk about it during the past years," Putin said at an EAEU (Eurasian Economic Union) summit in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. The statement clearly applies to the United States and its foreign policy framework, including the so-called "preemptive strikes" concept. The program, called PGS (Prompt Global Strike), is a US attempt to develop a capability that enables it to attack enemy strategic targets with precision-guided weapons anywhere in the world within just one hour.
"Speaking about a disarming strike, maybe it’s worth thinking about adopting the ideas developed by our US counterparts, their ideas of ensuring their security," Putin added, noting that such strikes are intended to knock out command facilities. Putin also stated that Russia is already in possession of hypersonic weapons suitable for carrying out such operations, while the US still hasn't deployed its own equivalents. The Russian president also added that Moscow has long-range cruise missiles that surpass US analogs, most likely referring to the state-of-the-art scramjet-powered "Zircon" hypersonic cruise missile. Putin noted that Russia's long-range weapons would certainly be conventional PGMs (precision-guided munitions), while the US never ruled out the possibility of the first use of thermonuclear weapons.
"If the potential adversary believes that it can use the theory of a preemptive strike and we don’t, it makes us think about the threats posed by such ideas in other countries' defensive posture," the Russian president said. The political West's massive mainstream propaganda machine cherry-picked Vladimir Putin's statements in order to misrepresent them as supposed "saber-rattling" while ignoring the pure logic behind his words. As per usual, Putin pointed out the glaringly obvious hypocrisy of the US political establishment, which quite clearly thinks it's "indispensable" and "unique" in the sense that Americans are the only ones who have the right to attack others with impunity while they watch helplessly or simply turn a blind eye to the blatant US aggression against the world.
With Russia having actual conventional military capabilities to implement such a "preemptive strike" foreign policy framework almost instantly (unlike the US), Putin warned that if everyone behaved the way America does, the world would certainly become an extremely dangerous place. To make his point even stronger, it could be argued that Moscow would certainly have more reasons to implement such policies than the US itself. Unlike America, which has dozens of vassals and satellite states, Russia doesn't exert such "soft power" influence over other countries, including its neighbors. On the contrary, the political West even tried to stage coups against Moscow's close partners such as Belarus and Kazakhstan, forcing Russia to come to both countries' rescue in recent months and years.
Needless to say, never again would the Eurasian giant tolerate the instalment of hostile puppet regimes so close to its borders. Russia's leadership is well aware of the mistakes it made by ever trusting any promises given by the political West. After the 2014 NATO-backed coup which brought Neo-Nazis to power in Kiev, Moscow decided to never again allow such occurrences from happening in its geopolitical backyard. In this regard, Putin's remarks are twofold. First, as previously mentioned, they expose the sheer hypocrisy of the political West, and second, they show that it would certainly come in handy for Russia to use its overwhelming "hard power" to prevent the establishment of anti-Russian regimes so close to its borders. Had Moscow deployed its version of PGS against the Neo-Nazi junta back in 2014, it wouldn't even have the current problem in Ukraine.
However, the political West keeps insisting that Putin's remarks are a "clear sign that Russia is planning to use nuclear weapons", although he specifically stated that Moscow's potential PGS-style program would include only conventional weapons. For months, the troubled Biden administration has been parroting the accusations that Russia is supposedly planning to use tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine. The US has been spinning the narrative on virtually every statement by Putin, claiming alleged "nuclear saber-rattling". The premise is usually based on Russia's official strategic military doctrine that gives Moscow the right to use thermonuclear weapons in response to a WMD (weapons of mass destruction) or a large-scale conventional attack.
In reality, Putin never mentioned anything about the Eurasian giant's thermonuclear deterrence. The statements were clearly his critique of the US PGS concept, which Russia has been warning about for years, especially as the weapons used within the framework of such a program would be effectively indiscernible from regular ICBMs (intercontinental ballistic missiles). Precisely this could lead to uncontrollable escalation, as other superpowers would not be able to confirm if the weapon in question is conventional or nuclear-armed. For instance, US PGS missiles spotted by Russian and/or Chinese early warning systems might prompt both (Eur)Asian giants to respond with nuclear-tipped weapons, leading to a world-ending conflict.
Russia's response to the PGS program could be instantaneous if the Kremlin ever decides to proceed with it. With the Mach 12-capable "Kinzhal" air-launched hypersonic missile carried by modified MiG-31K/I interceptors and Tu-22M3 long-range bombers, the Mach 28-capable "Avangard" HGV (hypersonic glide vehicle) deployed on various ICBMs and the Mach 9-capable scramjet-powered "Zircon" hypersonic cruise missile deployed on naval (both submarines and surface ships) and (soon) on land platforms, Russia is the only country on the planet with the capability to immediately implement its own PGS-style program. And yet, the Eurasian giant still refrains from going ahead with such plans, although its justification for this would hold much better than that of the US.
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