Deployment of offensive weapons in Ukraine ‘red line’ for Russia: Putin

Russian president says his country in order to avoid escalation does not deploy hypersonic missile systems.

MOSCOW (AA) – Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that creating military threats for Russia on Ukraine’s territory is a “red line” for Moscow.

“If offensive missile systems are deployed on the territory of Ukraine, the flight time to Moscow will be seven to 10 minutes, and in the case of deployment of hypersonic weapons – five minutes. Red lines are the creation of threats that can come from this territory (Ukraine) for us (Russia),” Putin said, speaking at Russia Calling! economic forum in Moscow.

The president stressed that if offensive weapons appear in Ukraine, Russia will have to “create something similar” against those who threaten the country.

Putin added that Russia could have already deployed hypersonic missiles but to prevent escalation it does not do it. He also expressed hope that there will be no need to do it in the future.

“We can do it (deploy hypersonic weapons) right now. We have already tested, and successfully, and … we will already have in service new hypersonic sea-based missiles on March 9.

“I hope it doesn’t come to that. I hope that common sense and responsibility for the country and for the world community will still prevail,” he said.

Putin said he regretted that Russian-Western relations so badly deteriorated, recalling that in the 1990s ties were “almost allied,” but rapidly degraded after NATO’s decision to move its infrastructure close to the Russian borders.

Large-scale exercises near the Russian borders pose a threat to Russia, causing concerns, he noted.

As for a possible invasion of Ukraine, the president said there were talks about it at the beginning of the year but the Russian troops did not leave the borders of the county.

Asked about his intention to run for the presidency for the next term, Putin said the Russian constitution provides for such a possibility and this is “a stabilizing factor,” however, he has not made any decision yet.

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