Russia’s hypersonic missiles are response to US missile shield near its borders — Kremlin

Russia’s work on developing hypersonic missiles is a response to strategic stability risks created by the United States and NATO and also to ensure its security in the wake of US ballistic missile deployment in Romania and other countries close to Russia’s borders, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Tuesday.

“If you remember, the president [President of Russia Vladimir Putin] has repeatedly said that, unfortunately, we have observed a gradual dismantling of the entire documental system of strategic security in the past decades and even over a longer period,” the Kremlin spokesman said commenting on a statement by the US Department of Defense on Russian armaments and whether this posed a risk for arms parity.

“What’s more, we have been confronted with certain steps by the United States and NATO that have actually impaired the existing parity: this relates to creating ballistic missile defense positioning areas, deploying interceptor missile systems in Romania and other countries in the close vicinity to our borders. These are the systems that can also launch strike missiles. That is, all these steps have been taken to dismantle the exiting parity. This has required measures to ensure Russia’s security and guarantee the continuation of the existing parity. This is what has been done,” Peskov said.

Commenting on the question about whether this was a response to the deployment of US missile shield systems near the Russian borders, the Kremlin spokesman replied: “This has also been a response, of course.”

Russia’s Defense Ministry announced on July 19 that the frigate Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union Gorshkov had successfully test-launched a Tsirkon hypersonic missile at a ground target. The missile flew at March 7 (seven times the speed of sound) across a distance of over 350 km.

Russia intends to outfit its submarines and surface ships with Tsirkon hypersonic missile systems.

Pentagon Spokesman John Kirby said at a news briefing earlier, commenting on Russia’s test-launch of a Tsirkon hypersonic missile from the frigate Admiral Gorshkov that “Russia’s new hypersonic missiles could potentially lead to destabilization and pose a significant risk because they can carry a nuclear charge.”

Russia’s Foreign Ministry has stated on many occasions that the deployment of land-based Aegis Ashore ballistic missile defense systems in Eastern Europe was a violation of obligations undertaken by Washington. As Russian experts say, the systems’ MK41 vertical launchers can be used to launch not only interceptors but also Tomahawk cruise missiles.