The Kremlin said on Wednesday that the United States was manipulating facts in order to falsely accuse Russia of violating the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces arms control treaty and create a pretext to leave it. Russia's General Staff chief Valery Gerasimov added that Russia will retaliate against U.S. allies hosting U.S. missiles in the case of confrontation - including with the use of new laser technology.
“You as military professionals must understand that the target for Russian retaliation won’t be U.S. territory but the countries where the intermediate-range missiles are deployed,” Gerasimov said in a statement.
Bloomberg reported Wednesday that Russia's Defense Ministry claimed it has deployed laser weapons, including the Peresvet laser, which while most of its capabilities remain secret is believe by military experts to be capable of disrupting "drones, missiles and aircraft."
Russian President Vladimir Putin unveiled multiple new weapon systems during his annual address in March, the actual operational capabilities of which were largely disputed at the time.
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The laser is named for a 14th century Orthodox monk who single-handedly fought the Tatar champion at the Battle of Kulikovo.
The United States delivered Russia a 60-day ultimatum on Tuesday to come clean about what Washington says is a violation of a 1987 nuclear arms control treaty, saying it would be forced to start a six-month process of withdrawal if nothing changed.
When asked about the ultimatum, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said statements from the United States and NATO were whipping up tensions.