Dmitry Medvedev, the former Russian president who renewed the START deal for another five years in 2019 with President Barack Obama, defended Russia’s right to use nuclear weapons if necessary.
“If America wants to defeat Russia, we have the right to defend ourselves with any weapon, including nuclear weapons,” he said on his Telegram channel on Wednesday.
However, a senior Russian defense official, Major-General Yevgeny Ilyin, told the lower house of the Russian parliament that the armed forces would continue to abide by the terms of START, which limits the number of weapons each side can hold.
The war in Ukraine has remained largely stalemated over the winter, but a new Russian offensive is pushing for further advances in the eastern Donbass region.
Both sides have struggled to ensure the supply of weapons to key areas as the conflict is waning. Ukraine is almost entirely dependent on Western supplies, while Russia is trying to increase its production capacity.
,[A] A modern and efficient army and navy are a guarantee of the country’s security and sovereignty, and a guarantee of its stable development and its future,” Putin said in remarks released by the Kremlin. That’s why we will pay priority attention to strengthening our defense capability as before.
“Our industry is rapidly increasing production of the full range of conventional weapons and preparing mass production of advanced models of equipment for the army and navy, as well as the aerospace forces,” Putin said.