- HBO Real Sports
Ramzan Kadyrov, the leader of Chechnya, gave a rare interview to a US outlet that aired Tuesday. In speaking to HBO’s “Real Sports,” he denied that gay people are humans, that they exist in his region, and that his government regularly detains or tortures them, despite ample reports to the contrary.
He also made a troubling comment about his country’s nuclear arsenal.
Kadyrov, known for his forceful style of speaking, said: “America is not really a strong enough state for us to regard it as an enemy of Russia. We have a strong government and are a nuclear state.
“Even if our government was completely destroyed, our nuclear missiles would be automatically deployed. We will put the whole world on its knees and screw it from behind.”
The New York Times points out that Russia built a system in the 1980s that could do what Kadyrov described, known as the Perimeter System. Essentially, if there were a nuclear attack to destroy the government of Russia – or anything a 1980s-era system would perceive as an attack – an automated system would empty Russia’s missile silos in a counterattack.
Bruce Blair, the former US nuclear officer who broke the story of the Perimeter System for The Times in 1993, told Business Insider that the system works when it detects nuclear explosions. Only a small crew, deep in a bunker, has a hand in the otherwise automated system, according to Blair.
“One concern is that it’s highly automated, and cyberattacks, for example, or other phenomena, natural or man-made, could set it off,” Blair said. “It poses a risk of accidental nuclear attack by Russia.”
- @DoctorNoFI via Twitter
“This was designed to retaliate massively against the US. What the specific targets are in this plan no one really knows, but it can be safely assumed it’s large-scale,” Blair said, adding that it would destroy most Americans and most large US cities.
The US requires the president to sign off on all nuclear strikes, with the aim of avoiding such catastrophes. If Washington were incapacitated by a nuclear strike, it’s unclear whether it could respond. The US’s nuclear weapons are code-locked, and, absent the president and a backup in the Pentagon, the US may not be able to respond.
Moscow code-locks its weapons as well, but this system would allow it to retaliate even after a nuclear decapitation.