A Russian military chief says the country's Strategic Missile Forces (SMF) are ready to defend the country against any possible “lightning-speed” nuclear strike.
“If we have to accomplish a task of repelling a ‘lightning-speed’ nuclear strike, this objective will be attained within a prescribed period,” Andrei Burbin, the SMF Central Command’s chief, was quoted by Russian media as saying on Saturday.
He voiced the SMF preparedness to deliver a retaliatory nuclear strike “unhesitatingly” if Russia comes under any assault.
Referring to the geographic position of Russia’s missile units, the major general said it will protect them from demolition by “any global strike,” adding that 98 percent of the SMF systems would be new in 2020.
The comments come against the backdrop of a recent boost in NATO’s military presence near Russia’s borders. In 2014, NATO forces held some 200 military exercises with the Western military block’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg promising that such maneuvers would continue.
Stoltenberg has recently announced that NATO would immediately be establishing command and control units in six eastern European countries.
Russia has condemned NATO’s exercises and military buildup toward its borders on numerous occasions.
Relations between Russia and NATO strained after Ukraine’s Crimea re-integrated into the Russian Federation following a referendum on March 16, 2014.
NATO ended all practical cooperation with Russia over the ensuing crisis in Ukraine last April.
In December 2014, Moscow approved an updated version of the Russian military doctrine which considers the NATO military buildup as a major foreign threat against Russia’s national security.