- Associated Press - Saturday, March 3, 2018

KETCHIKAN, Alaska (AP) - Russian President Vladimir Putin’s unveiling of a new catalog of doomsday weapons is largely bluster, Sen. Dan Sullivan said.

Russia’s announcement of new nuclear weapons is an effort to “stay relevant” internationally as the U.S. grows its military and missile defense capabilities, the Republican senator from Alaska told the Ketchikan Daily News on Wednesday.

Putin earlier this week announced that Russia has an arsenal of advanced weapons capable of striking anywhere in the world, giving the country unprecedented strategic power.

Sullivan, who is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Russia doesn’t have the technologies it claims to possess, but it is attempting to develop those capabilities. Russia has a “first-world military,” but it is hindered by its weak economy, he said.

Russia is a third-world mafia state that is essentially a gas station, and that’s kind of all they have,” Sullivan said.

The weapons touted by Putin may just be an effort to show off to his constituents as the country holds elections later this month, Sullivan said.

“You would think that if you’re a leader of a country like Russia, you wouldn’t need to kind of resort to those types of animations - which are obviously provocative - to stay relevant or try to impress your own domestic audiences,” Sullivan said.

The U.S. missile defense system is largely not aimed at Russia, but focused on rogue states like North Korea and Iran, he said. The country’s deterrent to Russia continues to be the nuclear triad of intercontinental ballistic missiles, strategic bombers and submarines.

Sullivan said he supports the full implementation of additional sanctions against Russia as the U.S. shifts its focus back to global superpowers.


Information from: Ketchikan (Alaska) Daily News, http://www.ketchikandailynews.com

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