Moscow considers its nuclear weapons a key form of strategic deterrence in maintaining the global balance of power, President Putin has said FILE PHOTO. © Sputnik / Russian Defense Ministry

Russia will upgrade its nuclear arsenal as part of its military modernization plans, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday. Such weapons are a primary guarantor of national security, he added.

The comment comes amid growing tensions between Moscow and the West over the Ukraine conflict, as the US and its allies continue to arm Kiev while claiming not to be party to the conflict.

Putin has warned that Russia would use all means available to defend itself if its existence were at stake. Citing the need to send the West a message, the Kremlin last month ordered the military to carry out drills in deploying non-strategic nuclear weapons.

“We plan to further develop the nuclear triad as a guarantee of strategic deterrence and to preserve the balance of power in the world,” Putin said on Friday at a meeting of graduates from military institutions.

The ‘nuclear triad’ refers to the combination of land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine-launched ballistic missiles and strategic bombers, which can all carry nuclear payloads. These weapons systems ensure that a potential enemy cannot destroy a nation’s nuclear forces in a first-strike disarming attack.

Defeating Russia impossible – Putin Defeating Russia impossible – Putin

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Defeating Russia impossible – Putin

Earlier this week, Putin insisted that defeating Russia is impossible. The strategic defeat sought by the West would mean “the end” of Russian statehood, Putin said during a visit to Vietnam.

Such a threat warrants Russia going “all the way” to achieve its goals in Ukraine, he added.

Putin has repeatedly said that any conflict involving the use of nuclear weapons would have dire consequences for humanity. In early June, he said that Russia was “not brandishing” nuclear weapons and expressed hope that “it will never come” to a nuclear exchange between Moscow and the West.

Russia’s nuclear doctrine states that such weapons can only be used in the face of a “threat to the sovereignty and territorial integrity” of the country, he noted at that time, but added that Moscow is considering modifications to this.

Speaking in Hanoi on Thursday, Putin argued that the West appears to be working on low-yield weapons to lower the nuclear threshold. Asked if Moscow could include a clause on the possibility of launching a pre-emptive nuclear strike, Putin said Russia does not need a first strike, “because our return strike is guaranteed to destroy any attacker.” (RT)