During a meeting with his defense minister, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he “hoped” Russia does not need to use nuclear warheads against terrorists.
Putin mentioned that the warplanes and submarines on the agenda could be equipped with nuclear warheads (emphasis added):
With regard to strikes from a submarine. We certainly need to analyse everything that is happening on the battlefield, how the weapons work. Both the Calibre missiles and the Kh-101 rockets are generally showing very good results. We now see that these are new, modern and highly effective high-precision weapons that can be equipped either with conventional or special nuclear warheads.
Naturally, we do not need that in fighting terrorists, and I hope we will never need it. But overall, this speaks to our significant progress in terms of improving weaponry and equipment being supplied to the Russian army and navy.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told the media that his country will not use nuclear force in Syria.
“Of course not, and the president has stated this, that there is no need to use any nuclear weapons against terrorists, as they can be defeated through conventional means, and this is fully in line with our military doctrine,” he said.
Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu informed Putin that the military successfully launched the “Kalibr missiles from the Rostov-on-Don submarine based in the Mediterranean Sea” for the first time. They also accomplished their missile attacks “using Tu-22 strategic bombers,” hitting all “32 targets.” He believes the soldiers destroyed ammunition depots and manufacturing plants for those fighting against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
Shoigu also presented Putin with the flight data recorder from the Russian plane the Turkish military shot down in Syria on November 24. He said no one has opened the recorder, and Putin reminded him that no one must do it without foreign experts.
“As I understand, the parametric logger will give us the opportunity to clearly understand the full trajectory of the Su-24 from the location and moment that it took off to the moment it fell – its speed, altitude, all the turns made during the flight,” stated Putin. “In other words, we can understand where it actually was and where it suffered that felon blow from the Turkish Air Force, which we have now discussed many times.”
He ended the meeting with reassurances that the Russian government will not change its “attitude toward” Turkey due to the incident, which he once again described as a “treacherous stab in the back.”
Tensions between Russia and Turkey have escalated since November 24. Putin enacted numerous sanctions against Turkey due to “national security” concerns and to protect “the national interests of the Russian Federation.” His government also accused Turkey of purchasing oil from the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL), but President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan insisted Russia bought the oil.