Putin’s chilling threat to the West over Tomahawk missiles

Putin’s chilling threat to the West over Tomahawk missiles

The tit-for-tat threats over missiles are spiralling out of control (Picture: AP)

Vladimir Putin has threatened a ‘military response’ to the West after the US announced plans to station long-range missiles closer to Russia’s borders in Europe.

Tomahawk cruise missiles, hypersonic weapons and Standard Missile-6 (SM-6) are among the arms that will be deployed to Germany.

All have a significantly longer range than the current capabilities of missiles in Europe, and are set to help Nato members thwart Russia’s imperial ambitions amid its war on Ukraine.

In a statement, the White House confirmed the weapons will be deployed in 2026 in a bid to demonstrate their commitment to Nato and European defence.

Russian deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov called it an ‘escalatory move’ aimed at intimidating his government.

He said: ‘Without nerves, without emotions, we will develop a military response, first of all, to this new game.’

What we know about the US-supplied missiles?

Tomahawk cruise missiles – a long-range, unmanned weapon with an an accuracy of about 16 feet. It is primarily used by the US Navy in ship and submarine-based land-attack operations. It uses satellite-assisted navigation and radar to guide it to a target up to approximately 1,500 miles distant. The Tomahawk can carry either a conventional or a nuclear warhead.

Hypersonic weapons – though both Russia and China are ahead of Nato in developing the missiles, the US has recently carried out tests. Hypersonic weapons fly at approximately 4,000 miles per hour, making them difficult to detect and intercept in time. They can also maneuver, allowing them to evade current missile defense systems.

Standard Missile-6 (SM-6) – this is the Navy’s signature ‘three missiles in one’ weapon. It is the only one that can perform anti-air warfare, anti-surface warfare and ballistic missile defence or sea-based missions.

It comes weeks after Putin said that his country should resume production of intermediate and shorter-range nuclear-capable missiles, and then consider where to deploy them, after the US brought similar missiles to Europe and Asia.

The joint announcement from the US and Germany came during the Nato summit currently taking place in Washington.

The Russian leader must be feeling pressure from the alliance as members announced a series of steps aimed at bolstering Ukraine’s defences.

That includes the US, the Netherlands and Denmark announcing that the first Nato-provided F-16s would be in the hands of Ukrainian military pilots by this summer.

A new Nato centre aimed at ensuring that Ukraine gets a more reliable flow of arms and training from members of the alliance was also unveiled.

But the commitments still fall short of the striking power president Volodymyr Zelensky says it needs to defeat the invading Russian forces.

In a final statement, it called China – which the West says provides components for Russia’s weapons – a ‘decisive enabler’ of the full-scale invasion.

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