Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday said that his country might need to embrace a nuclear first-strike doctrine, according to state-owned media.
Putin, speaking to journalists in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, said that the Russian doctrine currently does not provide for a preventive nuclear strike, only a retaliatory one, Tass reported.
"This means that the fall of enemy missile warheads on the territory of the Russian Federation is inevitable, they will fall anyway," Putin was reported to have said. "True, nothing will remain of the enemy."
The Russian president added that Russia might consider formally adding preventive nuclear first strike to its military doctrine.
Putin claimed that Russia not only has "more modern and even more effective" cruise missiles than the U.S., but hypersonic systems "not yet in the States."
The United States has long pledged to refrain from using nuclear weapons against most non-nuclear weapon states, but has neither ruled out their first use in all cases nor specified the circumstances under which it would use them, according to a March 29 Congressional Research Service (CRS) document.
The CRS document also said an Biden administration fact sheet showed that the Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) will not alter this "calculated ambiguity" policy, which was developed during the Cold War.
Putin discussed several other issues during his appearance before the Russian journalists.
He was asked about the sentence given to Russian opposition figure Ilya Yashin, who received 8 1/2 years in prison on Friday after being convicted on charges of "spreading false information" about the war in Ukraine.
"I consider interference in the activities of the courts absolutely unacceptable. I consider it inappropriate to question the decisions of the court," Putin said.
Putin also was asked about comments made by former German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who in an interview published Wednesday in Die Zeit said the Minsk accords were signed to "give Ukraine time" to strengthen itself.
The Minsk agreements, signed in 2014 and 2015, attempt to secure a ceasefire between the Ukrainian government and Russia-backed separatists in the east of Ukraine.
"This is disappointing," Putin told the journalists. "I didn't expect to hear this from the former federal chancellor."
He added that Merkel's statements prove that the decision to attack Ukraine was correct, and perhaps "all this should have started earlier."
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