HAVANA, Feb. 21th President Vladimir Putin has said that Russia is militarily ready for a Cuban Missile-style crisis if the US is foolish enough to want one and that his country currently has the edge when it comes to a first nuclear strike.
The Cuban Missile Crisis erupted in 1962 when Moscow responded to a US missile deployment in Turkey by sending ballistic missiles to Cuba, sparking a stand-off that brought the world to the brink of nuclear war.
More than five decades on, tensions are rising again over Russian fears that the US might deploy intermediate-range nuclear missiles in Europe as a landmark Cold War-era arms control treaty unravels.
Putin’s comments, made to Russian media late on Wednesday, follow his warning that Moscow will match any US move to deploy new missiles closer to Russia by stationing its own missiles closer to the US or by deploying faster missiles or both.
Putin fleshed out his warning in detail for the first time, saying Russia could deploy hypersonic missiles on ships and submarines that could lurk outside US territorial waters if Washington now moved to deploy intermediate-range nuclear weapons in Europe.
“[We’re talking about] naval delivery vehicles: submarines or surface ships. And we can put them, given the speed and range [of our missiles] … in neutral waters. Plus they are not stationary, they move and they will have to find them,” Putin said, according to a Kremlin transcript.