MOSCOW, March 2. /TASS/. Russia may use nuclear weapons only in retaliation to a nuclear strike or if it faces a threat to its existence, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an interview with NBC.
"There are two reasons that can prompt us to use nuclear weapons: a nuclear weapons attack against us or an attack using conventional weapons when there is a threat to the existence of the Russian state," Putin said, responding to a question about whether an attack on Russia without using nuclear weapons might trigger a nuclear attack from Russia.
In his State of the Nation Address to the Federal Assembly on March 1, President Putin announced that Russia had developed and tested the most advanced strategic weapons it was creating in response to Washington’s unilateral withdrawal from the ABM Treaty and the actual deployment of the missile shield both on the territory of the United States and outside. The breakthrough weapon systems included the Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile, the Kinzhal hypersonic complex, the nuclear-powered cruise missile and the underwater drone that can be furnished with both conventional and nuclear charges.
The Russian leader stressed at the same time that Russia’s growing military might was a reliable guarantee of peace on the planet while the work on strengthening the country’s defense capability was carried out within the framework of existing arms control treaties.