Russia to develop combat readiness of nuclear forces, says Putin

Russian leader also said new Zircon hypersonic cruise missiles will be used against Ukraine next month

A Zircon hypersonic cruise missile is launched from the Admiral Gorshkov frigate in the Barents Sea. Photo: Russian Defence Ministry
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Russia will continue developing its military potential and the combat readiness of nuclear forces, President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday.

He was speaking on the day that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy travelled to the US to hold talks with President Joe Biden.

“The armed forces and combat capabilities of our armed forces are increasing constantly and every day. And this process, of course, we will build up on,” Mr Putin said during a televised meeting with his country's high-ranking officers.

He added that Russia will also “improve the combat readiness of our nuclear triad”.

The Russian leader also highlighted the new Zircon hypersonic cruise missile, which he said Russian forces will be able to use from January.

“In early January, the Admiral Gorshkov frigate will be equipped with the new Zircon hypersonic missile, which has no equivalent in the world,” Mr Putin said.

Nearly 10 months into the fighting, Russia has faced a series of humiliating setbacks on the ground in Ukraine.

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said Russian troops in Ukraine are fighting “the combined forces of the West” there.

He also said that Moscow plans to use two Ukrainian port cities on the Sea of Azov that its troops seized during the offensive.

“The ports in Berdyansk and Mariupol are fully functioning. We plan to deploy bases there for support vessels, emergency rescue services and ship repair units of the navy,” Mr Shoigu added.

Updated: December 21, 2022, 2:23 PM