Published by MILITARYTIMES.COM
Summary generated on August 10, 2020
MOSCOW - Russia will perceive any ballistic missile launched at its territory as a nuclear attack that warrants a nuclear retaliation, the military warned in an article published Friday.
The article follows the publication in June of Russia's nuclear deterrent policy that envisages the use of atomic weapons in response to what could be a conventional strike targeting the nation's critical government and military infrastructure.
Alexander Khryapin, noted that there will be no way to determine if an incoming ballistic missile is fitted with a nuclear or a conventional warhead, and so the military will see it as a nuclear attack.
"Any attacking missile will be perceived as carrying a nuclear warhead," the article said.
"The information about the missile launch will be automatically relayed to the Russian military-political leadership, which will determine the scope of retaliatory action by nuclear forces depending on the evolving situation."
In line with Russian military doctrine, the new nuclear deterrent policy reaffirmed that the country could use nuclear weapons in response to a nuclear attack or an aggression involving conventional weapons that "Threatens the very existence of the state."
The policy document offered a detailed description of situations that could trigger the use of nuclear weapons, including the use of nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction against Russia or its allies.
In addition to that, the document states for the first time that Russia could use its nuclear arsenal if it receives "Reliable information" about the launch of ballistic missiles targeting its territory or its allies and also in the case of "Enemy impact on critically important government or military facilities of the Russian Federation, the incapacitation of which could result in the failure of retaliatory action of nuclear forces."
Russian officials have cast the U.S.-led missile defense program and its plans to put weapons in orbit as a top threat, arguing that the new capability could tempt Washington to strike Russia with impunity in the hope of fending off a retaliatory strike.
The Krasnaya Zvezda article emphasized that the publication of the new nuclear deterrent policy was intended to unambiguously explain what Russia sees as aggression.