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High US army intelligence official says Russian army poses an ‘existential menace’ to the US

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“The Russian army is an existential menace to america,” Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier, director of the Protection Intelligence Company, mentioned throughout a Senate Armed Companies Committee listening to about worldwide threats.

Berrier mentioned the nation’s army is getting used to take care of affect over states “alongside its periphery, compete with US world primacy and compel adversaries who problem Russia’s very important nationwide pursuits.”

“Moscow continues to put money into its strategic nuclear forces, in new capabilities to boost its strategic deterrent, and that locations the US homeland in danger,” Berrier mentioned.

Berrier’s feedback come as tensions between Russia and the US stay excessive. The US unveiled sanctions towards Moscow earlier this month over its interference within the 2020 US presidential election, the SolarWinds cyberattack and its ongoing occupation and “extreme human rights abuses” in Crimea.
President Joe Biden advised a joint session of Congress on Wednesday night time that Russia’s “actions can have penalties in the event that they develop into true, and so they turned out to be true,” referring to Moscow’s interference within the election and the SolarWinds cyberattack.

“So I responded immediately and proportionately to Russia’s interference in our elections and cyberattacks on our authorities and our companies — they did each of these items, and I advised them we might reply, and now we have. However we will additionally cooperate when it is in our mutual pursuits,” Biden mentioned.

The White Home is hammering out the small print of a attainable European summit between Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin, which might occur as quickly as early summer time, based on sources conversant in the planning.

Tensions excessive however a summit might happen

Russia has not but responded formally to america’ provide of a summit, Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov advised reporters Wednesday.

“We’re nonetheless trying into this proposal and analyzing the state of affairs,” Peskov mentioned. “Every time Washington’s phrases concerning the summit assembly are accompanied by phrases concerning the want for Russia to pay some type of value and about inevitable sanctions. So in fact, deep evaluation is required right here.”

Russia appeared to be pulling again from a attainable confrontation with the West final week as Russian state media reported that troops had been returning to their bases after participating in workout routines close to the border with Ukraine and in Crimea.

A buildup of Russian troops alongside the border in current weeks had reignited tensions in jap Ukraine, the place authorities forces have battled Russian-backed separatists demanding independence from Kiev since 2014.

“At current, army models and formations are marching to railway stations, airfields, loading onto touchdown ships, railway platforms and army transport plane,” Tass reported on April 23, citing the Ministry of Protection.

Russian Protection Minister Sergei Shoigu’s announcement got here weeks after Moscow initiated the biggest buildup of troops close to the Ukrainian border since 2014. It was unclear from the announcement what number of troops would stay within the area.

Berrier emphasised that the Russian army’s energy comes from its funding into and growth of nuclear weapons in addition to its “standard pressure largely postured for defensive and regional operations.”

“Russia has a rising capacity to undertaking energy with long-range precision cruise missiles and restricted expeditionary capabilities,” he added.

Berrier identified that Russian army leaders are “incorporating classes from Russia’s involvement in Syria into coaching and workout routines.”

When questioned by Sen. Deb Fischer, a Nebraska Republican, about Russia’s nuclear warhead growth, Berrier confirmed Protection Intelligence Company assessments from 2018 that acknowledged Russia is updating its nuclear warhead manufacturing complicated and is producing “lots of of nuclear warheads every year,” saying these assessments are nonetheless legitimate.

Berrier additionally confirmed that whereas the US is adhering to the nuclear testing moratorium, Russia just isn’t.

“America believes that Russia in all probability just isn’t adhering to the nuclear testing moratorium within the method according to the yield, or with the zero yield customary. America, against this, is upholding a zero yield customary, finish quote,” Fischer mentioned. “Does that also stay DIA’s evaluation?”

“It does, Senator,” Berrier mentioned.

CNN’s Barbara Starr, DJ Judd and Natasha Bertrand contributed to this report.

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