“Never. Russia does not extradite its citizens to anyone – and neither does the United States,” he said. Putin also explained that the accused were not represented by the Russian authorities. “What exactly they did, if anything, I have no idea,” he said.
The president asked his American counterparts to send relevant proof instead of just spreading stories to the media. “We are ready to look [at evidence] and talk about it,” Putin said.
The special council of Office of US Attorney General, Robert Mueller, who is investigating the so-called Russian interference in the US elections in 2016, published an indictment against private individuals suspected of committing this crime.
The document, which was prepared over nine months, is some 40 pages long and mentions 13 Russians. All of them worked for a Russian businessman, Yevgeny Prigozhin as social media marketers. According to the information released by the special prosecutor, the individuals could not have affected the results of the election of the US president on their own.
Earlier, in his yearly address to the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation President Putin announced the development and fielding of new types of strategic weapons which will render the US global missile defense systems useless.
In 2002, when the US unilaterally ended the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty, and in 2004 when the US and NATO included global missile defense into their strategic nuclear forces’ drills, Russia warned that it would have to respond to such a development. The ABM treaty had created global stability by guaranteeing Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD).
Additionally the US has shown no interest in renewing the only two strategic weapon control agreements still in force. The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) will end in 2019 and the New START Treaty, which limits the number of deployed nuclear warheads and delivery vehicles, expires by 2021.
Last week the Trump administration published its Nuclear Posture Review which includes several new elements that threaten early escalation.
In response, President Putin announced a new intercontinental missile SARMAT with unprecedented reach. Launched from Russia it can reach the continental US from any direction, even flying over the South Pole, and thus renders any concentrated missile defense like the one in Alaska useless.
The next system introduced is a cruise missile with a nuclear power plant which makes any anti-missile system practically useless. “Cold air that enters the missile at the front is superheated by a special nuclear reactor, exits at the rear and gives the missile an enormous thrust,” blogger Moon of Alabama noted.
At the end of 2017 Russia successfully launched the newest nuclear-powered cruise missile at the central proving ground. No other country but Russia has such a system.
Another weapon with a nuclear drive system is the new super fast submarine drone Status 6 or Kanyon. Its development was leaked in 2015, and its purpose is to destroy aircraft carrier groups and/or whole harbors. The new torpedo and the new cruise missiles will both carry nuclear warheads.
The fourth system Putin announced is a hypersonic air launched cruise missile named Kinzhal [or Dagger in English] which, he said, has been successfully tested and is already in combat duty in the southern Russian defense sector. The missile is maneuverable and flies at ten times the speed of sound with a range of 2 000 kilometers. It can be armed with conventional or nuclear warheads.
Putin spoke of two other weapon systems which are still in development. One is the maneuverable hypersonic glider Avangard which flies beyond the stratosphere at twenty times the speed of sound and comes down onto its targets “like a meteor”. Another weapon shown in a short spot is a ground based laser system for air defense.
Meanwhile, the British tabloid Metro has called the weapon “Bride of Satan”. In their opinion, the new models of Russian weapons represent a major technological breakthrough that can dramatically increase Russia’s military capabilities, “to strengthen its position in the international arena and to provoke a new arms race”.
The Russian response is actually an answer to a two decades-long unilateral arms deployment and NATO’s encroachment on Russia’s border. Putin had announced his intentions to counter these advances eleven years ago in Munich, at the global security conference.
“I hope that everything that was said today will bring any potential aggressor down to earth,” the Russian leader added.