President Putin has warned of a Nuclear war as Russia steps up its barrage on Syrian rebels with its first submarine-launched cruise missile strikes combined with bombing raids from the air.
Russian president, Vladimir Putin
Russian president, Vladimir Putin has warned that a new underwater missile system deployed by Russian submarines in the Caspian Sea, in the war against ISIS in Syria could be equipped with nuclear warheads.
He added that although using nuclear weapons was a possibility, he hoped that they would 'never be needed' in the fight against terrorism.
Speaking on Russian state television today, President Putin claimed his military had struck '300 targets of different kinds' in the past three days and helped Syrian special forces recover the black box of a Russian warplane downed by Turkey last month.
"With regard to strikes from a submarine: we certainly need to analyse everything that is happening on the battlefield, how the weapons work.
"Both the [Kalibr] missiles and the Kh-101 rockets are generally showing very good results. We now see that these are new, modern and highly effective high-precision weapons that can be equipped either with conventional or special nuclear warheads.
"Naturally, we do not need that in fighting terrorists, and I hope we will never need it. But overall, this speaks to our significant progress in terms of improving weaponry and equipment being supplied to the Russian army and navy."
The country's Defence Minister, Sergei Shoigu confirmed the strikes had been launched from the submarines, progressing on from firing from warships in the Caspian Sea.
"We used Calibre cruise missiles from the Rostov-on-Don submarine from the Mediterranean Sea," Shoigu told President Vladimir Putin during an encounter broadcast on state television.
It is believed the cruise missiles, launched from submarines, can travel as far as 1,500 miles at low altitude to attack enemy strongholds.
Shoigu added that Russian strikes launched yesterday had been aimed at 'two terrorist strongholds' around Raqqa, the de facto Syrian capital of the Islamic State jihadist group.
"As a result of the successful launches by the aviation and submarine fleet, all targets were destroyed,' Shoigu said, adding that oil infrastructure, ammunition depots and a mine-making factory had been hit in the strikes.
The Calibre cruise missile once again showed its effectiveness over long distances."