June 14, 2020 / 10:37 AM / 21 days ago

Putin says Russia will be able to counter hypersonic weapons

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends an awards ceremony marking Russia Day in Moscow, Russia June 12, 2020. Sputnik/Mikhail Klimentyev/Kremlin via REUTERS

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia will soon be in a position to counter hypersonic arms deployed by other countries, President Vladimir Putin said on Sunday, adding that Moscow was ahead of the United States in developing new types of weapons.

Hypersonic glide vehicles can steer an unpredictable course and manoeuvre sharply as they approach impact. They also follow a much flatter and lower trajectory than ballistic missiles.

Washington and Moscow have been expanding their defence capabilities as some Cold War-era arms control agreements collapsed during worsening of Russia’s ties with the West.

Last year Russia deployed its first hypersonic nuclear-capable missiles, while the Pentagon has a goal of fielding hypersonic capabilities in the early to mid-2020s.

“It’s very likely that we will have means to combat hypersonic weapons by the time the world’s leading countries have such weapons,” Putin was quoted as saying by the RIA news agency.

While Russia and the United States had broadly the same number of nuclear weapons, Putin said Moscow was ahead in advanced arms development.

Reporting by Maria Kiselyova; Editing by Mark Potter and Alexander Smith

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