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Vladimir Putin’s possible successor makes chilling nuclear weapons boast
November 7, 2023
Vladimir Putin’s possible successor has boasted that Russia’s nuclear capabilities have surpassed its competitors in what will be seen as a chilling warning to the West.
Putin and his closest aides have regularly boasted about Russia’s huge nuclear weapons arsenal – particularly since the start of the Ukraine war in February 2022.
Now Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of Russia’s Security Council and a close confidant of the president since the 1970s, has claimed his country surpassed all other countries in terms of nuclear proficiency for the first time.
The former director of the Federal Security Service, a steadfast supporter of Russia’s war in Ukraine who has been touted as a possible successor to Putin and worked with him at the KGB, made the chilling comments during a recent appearance at the Znanie (Knowledge) education expo in Moscow.
He said, according to the state-owned RT television channel: “For the first time in the history of the existence of nuclear missile weapons, our country is ahead of its competitors in this [nuclear] domain.”
Patrushev also reportedly alluded to Russia’s “unique strategic weapons, including hypersonic ones,” predicting that this “will guarantee Russia’s security for many decades.”
But in a massive blow to Russia, he also said during separate comments in Tomsk, Siberia that the number of scientists in Russia has slumped by around a quarter over the past 20 years.
This has hindered Russia’s ability to achieve “technological independence”, although many of those departures have been directly linked to opposition to Russia’s war against Ukraine.
In June, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) published its nnual assessment of global armaments, disarmament and international security, which said Russia has a larger nuclear stockpile and nuclear inventory than the US.
The two countries possess nearly 90 percent of all nuclear weapons alone, but as of January 2023, Russia’s stockpile of nuclear warheads was estimated to be 4,489 compared with the 3,708 warheads held by the United States.
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Last month, it was reported Putin gave the go-ahead for nuclear weapons exercises to take place as Russia prepares for a “massive” retaliatory nuclear strike to wipe out its enemies in the event of a rival nuclear attack.
The Kremlin has said Russia’s Strategic Deterrence Forces conducted exercises under the leadership of the 71-year-old president, according to Russian state-owned news outlet RIA Novosti.
Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said the “tasks of delivering a massive nuclear strike by strategic offensive forces in response to an enemy nuclear attack are being worked out”, according to the publication.
The Kremlin reportedly said launches of ballistic and cruise missiles took place during the exercises.
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