Russia state TV channel lists nuclear targets in US following Putin's missile warning

Hypersonic missiles could potentially hit targets in America 'in less than five minutes'

Harry Cockburn
Monday 25 February 2019 16:00
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Putin threatens to target US with new weapons if it deploys missiles to Europe

Days after Vladimir Putin warned Russia would target the US with new hypersonic missiles if the Trump administration deployed nuclear weapons in Europe, Russian state television has listed potential targets in America.

The Sunday evening broadcast claimed the missiles could hit the Pentagon and the Camp David presidential retreat in “less than five minutes”.

The news report, belligerent even by Russian state TV standards, comes amid rising tensions between the two countries over Donald Trump’s plans to withdraw from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty.

Mr Trump has accused Russia of breaking the terms of the deal, and Russia has also accused the US of being in “direct violation” of the deal.

Earlier this month, Mr Putin gave his approval to plans which include the building of hypersonic land-based missiles as well as a ground-based version of the Kalibr (also known as Caliber) sea-launched cruise missile.

But he has also said he does not want Russia to be drawn into an expensive arms race.

Last week Mr Trump said in a statement the US will “move forward” with developing its own military response options to Russia’s deployment of banned cruise missiles that could target western Europe.

Mr Putin said if this meant US missiles being brought to Europe, Russia would be forced to respond by placing hypersonic nuclear missiles on submarines near US waters, where their targets would be in range.

In the Sunday broadcast, Dmitry Kiselyov, presenter of Russia’s main weekly TV news show Vesti Nedeli, showed a map of the United States and identified several targets he said Moscow would want to hit in the event of a nuclear war.

The targets, which Mr Kiselyov described as US presidential or military command centres, also included Fort Ritchie, a military training centre in Maryland closed in 1998, McClellan, a US Air Force base in California closed in 2001, and Jim Creek, a naval communications base in Washington state.

Kiselyov, who is close to the Kremlin, said the “Tsirkon” (Zircon) hypersonic missile that Russia is developing could hit the targets in fewer than five minutes if launched from Russian submarines.

Hypersonic flight is generally taken to mean travelling through the atmosphere at more than five times the speed of sound.

“For now, we’re not threatening anyone, but if such a deployment takes place, our response will be instant,” he said.

Reuters contributed to this report

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