Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday ordered for the Russian Aerospace Forces to be developed, setting the creation of defences against hypersonic weapons as one of the key priorities.
The Russian leader's directive comes as the USA announced its intent to withdraw from the Cold War-era arms control treaty, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, in February this year.
"We know for sure that right now, only Russia possesses (hypersonic) weapons. But we also understand that the world's leading states will obtain such weapons sooner or later. For all of us, it would be better if for them this is 'later'," Sputnik quoted Putin as saying.
He added that Washington's February decision should be taken into consideration while discussing the future of Russia's armed forces. Putin also said that the significance of the aerospace forces would increase in the near future. He outlined that the defence systems need to be developed and adopted before any other state arms itself with hypersonic weapons.
While announcing this, he highlighted the latest developments in the forces, including the completion of tests for the S-350E 'Vityaz' air defence system. He also stated that modern systems account for 82 per cent of all armaments in Russia's strategic forces.
The INF Treaty was signed between the two nations in 1987, banning all nuclear-armed ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles which operate at a range between 500 and 5,500 kilometers.
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