US Defence Secretary James N. Mattis said he sees no change in Russia’s military capability in light of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent speech in which he said Russia has nuclear weapons capable of attacking the United States.

The secretary called Putin’s remarks “disappointing, but unsurprising”.

Mattis spoke with reporters aboard a plane bound for Oman as part of an overseas trip designed to strengthen relationships.

“I looked at President Putin’s speech, and like many of us, I focused on the last third of it,” Mattis said.

“The first two-thirds [was] clearly about domestic issues, but also opportunities in that first two-thirds, as I was reading it.  And I tried to forget that I … knew what the last third was about — that you would actually see opportunities there to reduce the tensions between the NATO countries, the Western countries, the nations that want to live by international law, maintain sovereignty and territorial integrity of everyone, and the Russian Federation.”

The secretary said his role is to make strategic assessments, and that he saw no change to the Russian military capability in Putin’s remarks. The systems the Russian president talked about “are still years away,” the secretary said, adding that he doesn’t see them changing the military balance.

“They do no impact any need on our side for a change in our deterrent posture, which would be certainly an indication I registered this assessment with something that was changing,” Mattis said.

Moscow’s cancellation of scheduled strategic security talks shows a Russia that’s not even acting in its own best interests, he added.

19 COMMENTS

  1. It’s all part of Putin’s game. Some information may be exaggerated or even false, however, for those countries that border Russian, the facts are immaterial. The psychological pressure remains undiminished and nothing that NATO or the US say, helps to reduce the fear.

    If true, and Russian military grade ‘chemical’ delivery took place in Salisbury, England, under the orders of Russian authorities, then we should all start to share the common fear. If a sleepy corner of an English town isn’t safe then where is? Maybe Putin had zero knowledge of what was going on, it’s possible some of these pending murders have been active for years. If so, Putin would be wise to call in the target lists and burn them.

  2. Jim Mattis is one extremely effective man. Revered on both sides of the Atlantic by the armed forces. Just wish we had a man of his calibre in the MOD

  3. Mattie is solid and dependable. Sound military mind. He knows even though Russia might have some new wonder weapons in the pipeline there is a world of difference between prototypes and actual service delivery. Economically I cannot see Russia affording all this high-end capability…..unless China is paying for it.

  4. If any reasonable size country were to concentrate resources on one aspect of defence, chances are it could make itself a world leader. So what Putin says Russia is doing is not impossible, if it were spending 50% or more of its defence budget on it, combined wth the equivalent civilian spend on associated tech. The UK could probably do the same.

    So a question is, what percentage is Russia spending in its conventional defence, seems to me the answer is, not a lot.

    • Indeed true. Putin understands he can’t compete across the board so he chooses his weapons programs carefully. He’s effectively abandoned his blue water navy capability including aircraft carriers. So, he’s focused on huge nuke stocks because that’s the ultimate deterrent (or threat), coastal defence, AA capability, subs and enough land armour innovation to make NATO think twice on land. His stance is to counter NATO strength. You want to risk your new stealth fighters – come and try our new air defences, you want to bring your aircraft carriers in range, try our subs etc.

      • Well put Ian – Russian air defence systems in particular – such as the S400 – are excellent and would give NATO and Israeli planners headaches. Not that they can’t be overcome but done so at a cost – hence your point.

      • Absolute rubbish the Russians have sold the s400 to turkey a NATO partner it can’t be up to much the yanks and UK will have had a good look at it ..

  5. “Western countries, the nations that want to live by international law, maintain sovereignty and territorial integrity of everyone, and the Russian Federation.” What planet does this guy live on ? Mad Dog indeed. Look at what the US is doing in Syria ! GTF OUT !!!

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