Nikolai Makarov, leader of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, stresses that Russia will take the necessary countermeasures if U.S. vessels with the Aegis system are dislocated to northern waters or to the Black Sea. Talking with journalists, Russia´s highest-ranking military official underlines that the appearance of U.S. vessels in northern Russian waters will definitely “pose a threat”.
“We have matching measures ready,” Makarov says, Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports. The general admits, however, that he is not keen on introducing the countermeasures, because they mean “additional financial spending”.
According to the general, the U.S.A. have been pushing on Norway to equip its Navy vessels with the missile defence system. “Norway has, fortunately, taken a balanced position,” Makarov says.
Russia continues to promote the nuclear weapon arsenal and the strategic forces as its main military asset. In the interview, General Makarov stressed that the strategic forces will “under no circumstances” be subjected to budget cuts.
A key element in the Russian military strategy remains the role of nuclear submarines. Eight new strategic Borey class vessel, as well as eight multipurpose Yasen class subs, will be built before 2020. The two first vessels of the Borey class, the “Yuri Dolgoruki” and the “Aleksandr Nevski” will be formally included in the Navy in summer 2012, Makarov confirms.
The general also stresses that Russia will not hesitate to use its nuclear forces if needed. Talking to radio station Ekho Moskvy, the general says that “we are certainly not planning to fight against the whole of NATO […] but if there is a threat to the integrity of the Russian Federation, we have the right to use nuclear weapons, and we will.”
Russia’s nuclear deterrent is the cornerstone of strategic stability and serious efforts are being taken by the Russian government to modernize the country’s nuclear triad, RIA Novosti reports.
The Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System (Aegis BMD) is part of the United States national missile defense strategy. It enables warships to shoot down enemy ballistic missiles. According to Wikipedia, several countries have begun to deploy this system, among them Japan, Spain, United Kingdom, Australia, Netherlands, Germany, South Korea.
An American vessel equipped with the system reportedly recently visited the Ukrainian Black Sea ports of Odessa and Sevastopol, triggering protests from Russia.