The head of Russian diplomacy said that Moscow had developed hypersonic missiles to be able to defeat American defense systems and prevent a first strike from Washington, and that Russia wanted to avoid a nuclear war.
“We had no choice but to work on hypersonic weapons because we knew perfectly well that the American missile defense system would not be directed against North Korea and Iran but against Russia,” he said on Sunday. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to Italian media Mediaset.
Mr Lavrov last week accused the West of engaging in a proxy war with his country that could escalate into a global conflict with nuclear weapons. He said the West was increasing the risk by supplying weapons to Ukraine.
“We needed weapons that were guaranteed to defeat missile defenses,” he said in the interview. “Otherwise, a country that has missile defense systems and offensive weapons might be tempted to launch the first strike thinking that a response will be suppressed by its missile defense systems.”
While Russia’s foreign minister said the risks of nuclear war were high, he said it must be avoided at all costs. “There can be no winners in a nuclear war,” he said. “He must never be unleashed.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly raised the specter of nuclear war since sending troops to Ukraine in February, citing his country’s atomic arsenal in a bid to deter the United States and the United Nations. North Atlantic Treaty to become involved in the conflict.
Mr Putin said in 2018 that Russia had a set of hypersonic missiles, which can travel at five times the speed of sound and can change direction mid-flight, making them difficult to track. He boasted that his country is the leader in the development of weapons.