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Top US army intelligence official says Russian army poses an ‘existential risk’ to the US

“The Russian military is an existential threat to the United States,” Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, mentioned throughout a Senate Armed Services Committee listening to about worldwide threats.

Berrier mentioned the nation’s army is getting used to take care of affect over states “along its periphery, compete with US global primacy and compel adversaries who challenge Russia’s vital national interests.”

“Moscow continues to invest in its strategic nuclear forces, in new capabilities to enhance its strategic deterrent, and that places the US homeland at risk,” Berrier mentioned.

Berrier’s feedback come as tensions between Russia and the US stay excessive. The US unveiled sanctions in opposition to Moscow earlier this month over its interference within the 2020 US presidential election, the SolarWinds cyberattack and its ongoing occupation and “severe human rights abuses” in Crimea.
President Joe Biden informed a joint session of Congress on Wednesday evening that Russia’s “actions will have consequences if they turn out to be true, and they turned out to be true,” referring to Moscow’s interference within the election and the SolarWinds cyberattack.

“So I responded directly and proportionately to Russia’s interference in our elections and cyberattacks on our government and our businesses — they did both of these things, and I told them we would respond, and we have. But we can also cooperate when it’s in our mutual interests,” Biden mentioned.

The White House is hammering out the main points of a doable European summit between Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin, which might occur as quickly as early summer time, in keeping with sources conversant in the planning.

Tensions excessive however a summit might happen

Russia has not but responded formally to the United States’ supply of a summit, Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov informed reporters Wednesday.

“We are still looking into this proposal and analyzing the situation,” Peskov mentioned. “Each time Washington’s words about the summit meeting are accompanied by words about the need for Russia to pay some kind of price and about inevitable sanctions. So of course, deep analysis is required here.”

Russia seemed to be pulling again from a doable confrontation with the West final week as Russian state media reported that troops have been returning to their bases after collaborating in workouts close to the border with Ukraine and in Crimea.
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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 present, military units and formations are marching to railway stations, airfields, loading onto landing ships, railway platforms and military transport aircraft,” Tass reported on April 23, citing the Ministry of Defense.

Russian Defense 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 improvement of nuclear weapons in addition to its “conventional force largely postured for defensive and regional operations.”

“Russia has a growing ability to project power with long-range precision cruise missiles and limited expeditionary capabilities,” he added.

Berrier identified that Russian army leaders are “incorporating lessons from Russia’s involvement in Syria into training and exercises.”

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

Berrier additionally confirmed that whereas the US is adhering to the nuclear testing moratorium, Russia will not be.

“The United States believes that Russia probably is not adhering to the nuclear testing moratorium in the manner consistent with the yield, or with the zero yield standard. The United States, by contrast, is upholding a zero yield standard, end quote,” Fischer mentioned. “Does that still remain DIA’s assessment?”

“It does, Senator,” Berrier mentioned.

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

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