MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia has weapons capable of destroying any enemy, including the United States, in an existential crisis, said Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of the Security Council and a close aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin. He warned that Washington underestimated Russia’s nuclear power.
Patrushev’s comments are the latest step to raise fears of a nuclear showdown between the world’s two biggest nuclear powers. The Russian government has said it wants to avoid a nuclear conflict.
“US politicians, trapped in their own propaganda, believe that in the event of a direct conflict with Russia, the US can launch preventive missile strikes, and Russia will respond,” Patrushev told the Russian daily Roshyskaya Gazeta on Thursday. “We continue to be confident that we cannot. This is short-sighted and very dangerous stupidity.” “Russia is patient and does not intimidate with military superiority, but it has modern and unique weapons that can destroy any opponent, including the United States, in the face of existential opportunity.”
Putin announced on Thursday that he would deploy tactical nuclear missiles to Russia’s ally Belarus, which borders Russia and Ukraine. He warns the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which provides military support to Ukraine, and moves to intensify conflict with Western countries.