Academician Velikhov Proposes Chilling "Wake-Up Call" for the U.S.A. and Europe
March 6, 2012 • 9:12AM

One of the meetings held by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in the run-up to his victory in yesterday's Presidential election was a Feb. 24 discussion with military, scientific, and strategic experts at the Federal Nuclear Center in Sarov, the country's premier weapons lab. During that round table, Academician Yevgeni Velikhov made a startling proposal for resumption of a long-discontinued nuclear weapons program, as a form of asymmetrical response to the U.S./NATO anti-missile systems in Europe that would be a "wake-up call" about the realities of nuclear war.

Velikhov is president of the Kurchatov Institute, the leading nuclear science lab of the Russian Academy of Sciences, as well as heading the Public Chamber, an advisory body of prominent citizens established by Vladimir Putin during his earlier Presidency.

Velikhov suggested that Russia rearm its anti-missile defenses around Moscow with nuclear bombs, to achieve a "nuclear interception" capability against potential strategic nuclear missile attack. "Nuclear interception" refers to the explosion of a nuclear bomb over one's own territory, in the trajectory of an incoming missile. Less accurate but more reliable than a missile-to-missile kinetic kill attempt, nuclear interception means massive fallout and damage on the targeted country's territory, but still far less than what a successful nuclear missile hit would bring.

Here is how Academician Velikhov posed the matter to Putin, in terms indicating that he considers a nuclear missile attack on Russia to be a very real possibility: "The second point that I'd like to make is that an asymmetrical response is an appropriate answer to the United States and NATO. I often think about our discussions with [nuclear weapons scientist] Yuli Khariton. He had a fairly straightforward perspective and believed that nuclear interception was the most effective method for intercepting ballistic missiles. I'm not talking about our necessarily working to develop nuclear interception. As you are aware, it exists in the 135 system [anti-missile system around Moscow]. Importantly, if we added an optional nuclear interception section to our program, it would be a major wake-up call to our partners, because this is totally unacceptable for the U.S.A. politically. This would be a totally asymmetrical answer, since they simply can't do it. I will not elaborate now, but this is a 100% likelihood. As you know, this is even less acceptable for the Europeans. Therefore, just including it as an option and including discussions about a nuclear interception project would be the right thing to do technologically and politically."