Putin: New weapons will offer Russia reliable protection

Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting with officials in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019. The meeting focused on language issues. (AP)
Updated 06 November 2019

Putin: New weapons will offer Russia reliable protection

  • Russia’s relations with the West have plunged to the lowest levels since the Cold War years over the conflict in Ukraine and other disputes

MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin says Russia’s new weapons have no foreign equivalents but he insists the country will not use them to threaten anyone.

Speaking during a meeting Tuesday with senior military officers, Putin said no other countries have hypersonic, laser and other prospective weapons that have been commissioned by the Russian military, adding that “it’s not a reason to threaten anyone.”

Putin claimed the new weapons systems are designed exclusively to “ensure our security in view of the growing threats” and vowed to pursue arms control efforts.

Russia’s relations with the West have plunged to the lowest levels since the Cold War years over the conflict in Ukraine and other disputes.
In 2018, Putin announced an array of new weapons, including a hypersonic glide vehicle, a nuclear-armed underwater drone and a nuclear-powered cruise missile.


Afghanistan to free 900 more Taliban prisoners

Updated 6 min 37 sec ago

Afghanistan to free 900 more Taliban prisoners

  • The government earlier responded to the Taliban’s cease-fire offer by announcing plans to release up to 2,000 insurgent prisoners
  • The cease-fire, only the second of its kind in the 19-year-old conflict, has raised hopes of an extended truce

KABUL: Afghan authorities plan to release 900 more Taliban prisoners Tuesday, as a rare cease-fire by the insurgents entered its third and last day.
The pause in fighting, which came into effect Sunday to mark the Muslim holiday of Eid Al-Fitr, was for the most part holding out across the country, officials said.
The government earlier responded to the Taliban’s cease-fire offer by announcing plans to release up to 2,000 insurgent prisoners.
On Monday they freed 100 people and will release another 900 on Tuesday, the government said, the biggest group of Taliban prisoners freed so far.
“There is a decision to release 900 today,” National Security Council spokesman Javid Faisal told AFP.
But the exact number could vary subject to legal procedures, he added.
The cease-fire, only the second of its kind in the 19-year-old conflict, has raised hopes of an extended truce that could pave the way for long-awaited peace talks between the Taliban and Afghan government.
President Ashraf Ghani has said his administration is ready to begin the negotiations, seen as key to ending the war in the impoverished country.
On Tuesday officials said the cease-fire, the country’s first initiated by the Taliban, had largely been observed.
The only other comparable pause in violence came over Eid in 2018, an olive branch offered by Ghani.
Violence in Afghanistan escalated after the Taliban signed a deal with Washington in February to withdraw all US forces by next year.
The agreement also stipulated the Afghan government would first release up to 5,000 Taliban prisoners and the militants would free about 1,000 national security personnel.
Prior to this week’s releases, Kabul had already freed about 1,000 Taliban inmates, while the insurgents had let go about 300 Afghan security forces captives.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has welcomed the cease-fire, and said the freed Taliban fighters should not return to the battlefield.