UKRAINE is ready to strike back at war-hungry Vladimir Putin with missiles that could strike Russian cities and nuclear power plants, a senior diplomat has warned.
It came as the Russian president escalated tensions with NATO by boasting that his “unstoppable” Mach 9 hypersonic nuclear bombs will be deployed in the New Year.
Ukraine is on high alert after Putin moved nearly 100,000 troops to the border.
Spy chiefs claim to have proof that a coup attempt is planned this week and that the Kremlin is planning a full-scale invasion in January.
Former Foreign Minister Vladimir Ohryzko has warned that Ukraine is ready to use any means at its disposal to defend itself.
He told broadcaster Channel 5: “War is war – if we are threatened with attacks on infrastructure, so can we.
“If today we do not have the possibility of reaching Moscow with missile weapons, then there is the capacity and the will to reach other cities which are within the reach of the Ukrainian missile forces, and which can cover very serious infrastructure installations, including nuclear power plants. “
Ukraine currently has no long or medium range rockets after destroying nuclear missiles and warheads inherited from the Soviet Union.
It is developing two new ballistic missiles but they are not yet in service after budget cuts delayed programs.
This means that its primary ground attack missile is the aging Soviet-era Tochka, which has a range of around 80 miles.
It also has brand new anti-ship Neptune cruise missiles, which have a range of 175 miles and could be used to strike targets ashore.
Big cities like Voronezh, Rostov-on-Don and Krasnodar could theoretically be within reach.
Mr. Ohryzko – who was sacked from the government in 2009 – also made wacky suggestions that NATO should “go all the way” and invade Russia to divide its territory.
He said the United States and Europe would make huge profits and quickly recoup the hundreds of billions they could spend to overthrow the regime.
He said: “Imagine that a set of ten to fifteen independent non-nuclear nations are created in place of the present Russian Federation. Who will it benefit from? Everybody wins.
“FIVE MINUTES TO LAUNCH”
Meanwhile, Mr Putin stoked war fears today by announcing that the lethal Zircon hypersonic missiles are ready for deployment in early 2022.
He said: “We have now successfully tested it, and by the start of the year we will have a new sea-based hypersonic missile in service.”
He also boasted that nuclear weapons at 6,600 mph – which would be capable of evading all defenses – would be ready to launch with just five minutes’ notice.
Tensions have been further fueled by Belarusian President Lukashenko, who has offered to harbor Russian nuclear weapons on his territory if NATO deploys weapons “to the east of Germany”.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg had earlier said that US nuclear weapons would have to be moved to another country like Poland if Germany decides it doesn’t want them there anymore.
On Sunday, Stoltenberg warned “there will be consequences” for Russia if it uses force against Ukraine.
It is believed that NATO allies would avoid joining a conflict and instead seek to impose new economic sanctions as they did after Putin annexed Crimea in 2014.
Mr Putin dismissed fears of an invasion and suggested that the troop movements only deter Kiev from a new offensive against Kremlin-backed rebels in the breakaway Donbass region.
But one of its top advisers warned that Russia would attack unless NATO agrees to ban Ukraine from the alliance.
Last week, Kiev confirmed that it had used US-made Javelin anti-tank missiles against the rebels for the first time.
They are considered a major threat to an invading force, with Turkish-made TB2 drones capable of bombarding heavy armor from the air.
Earlier this week, Russian tanks in Crimea were seen sporting bizarre anti-missile “umbrellas” mounted above their turrets.
The screens appear to be experimental and it is not known what protection they would give, Forbes reports.
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