A Russian state television host threatened on Sunday that the U.S. could be “reduced to radioactive ash” if it does not meet the demands laid out by Russia for deescalating tensions around Ukraine.
Russia demanded that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) should roll back military deployments in eastern Europe and bar Ukraine and other post-Soviet nations from joining the alliance. News of the Week state-TV host Dmitry Kiselyov went on a lengthy monologue about why the U.S. and NATO should meet Russia’s demands.
“The U.S. and NATO must roll back from our borders, otherwise we will, figuratively speaking, ‘roll up’ to their borders and create symmetrical, unacceptable risks… If you put a gun to our head, we will respond in kind,” Kiselyov said.
Kiselyov went on to say, “Never before has anyone published the texts of the proposed treaties, but never before in the 21st century has the situation been so acute, and the risks so great.”
“We’re holding very strong cards in our hands,” the Russian TV host continued. “Our hypersonic weapons are guaranteed to produce a response that is so unpleasant for America to hear: being reduced to radioactive ash.”
Kiselyov’s remarks touted the flight speeds demonstrated in recent tests of Russian hypersonic weapons, like the Zircon missile.
Last month, Russian President Vladimir Putin also appeared to reference using hypersonic nuclear weapons if Russia felt threatened by NATO‘s actions around Ukraine.
“If some kind of strike systems appear on the territory of Ukraine, the flight time to Moscow will be seven to 10 minutes, and five minutes in the case of a hypersonic weapon being deployed,” Putin said during an investment forum in Moscow last month. “What are we to do in such a scenario? We will have to then create something similar in relation to those who threaten us in that way. And we can do that now.”
Last week, Putin claimed NATO forces are preparing to deploy intermediate-range nuclear forces in Europe and said Russia would be “forced” to do the same.
Despite Russia massing tens of thousands of troops near Ukraine’s borders for weeks, and past Russian aggression against Georgia in 2008 and the annexation of Crimea in 2014, Putin claimed on Tuesday that the reason for ongoing tensions in Europe is entirely the fault of the U.S. and NATO, and not anything Russia has done.
“They are to blame for what is happening in Europe now, for the escalation of tensions there. Russia had to respond at every step, and the situation was continuously going from bad to worse. It was deteriorating all the time. And here we are today, in a situation when we are forced to resolve it,” Putin said on Tuesday.