VLADIMIR Putin has a hypersonic missile system that “cannot be intercepted” at his disposal, a Russian general has warned.

The missile is at the disposal of Moscow should the US pull out of a landmark nuclear disarmament treaty.

Former Russian lieutenant-general Evgeny Buzhinskiy said the terrifying weapons system is capable of penetrating anti-missile defences in the US and Europe.

He warned the world to take heed of Russia’s hypersonic missile capabilities as US president Donald Trump threatens to pull out of the Soviet-era Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.

Buzhinskiy said Russia has far more advanced technology in the field of hypersonic missiles, which can travel more than five times the speed of sound.

One hypersonic missile system is already being used by the Russian army, according to Buzhinskiy, chairman of Moscow-based think tank PIR Center.

russia inf treaty

ARMS RACE: A nuclear treaty between Russia and the United States is on the brink of collapse (Pic: GETTY)

“We already have in operation, one of our hypersonic systems,” he told Daily Star Online.

“We are ahead of the Americans in terms of hypersonic weapons.

“They cannot be intercepted by any present anti-missile defences.”

His warning may give Trump pause for thought as he edges closer to unilaterally withdrawing from the INF Treaty, which prohibits the deployment of intermediate range ground-based missiles.

Putin has today said Russia “will react accordingly” to US withdrawal from the INF Treaty. 

The INF treaty, signed by ex-US president Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail S Gorbachev in 1987, bans the development and deployment of cruise missiles with ranges between 500km and 5,500km.

“They cannot be intercepted”

Evgeny Buzhinskiy

It has prevented the deployment of US nuclear-tipped missiles to Europe since its inception.

But Trump has threatened to pull out based on allegations Russia has violating the INF Treaty – accusations Moscow vehemently denies.

The US has given Russia 60 days to comply with the INF Treaty or it will no longer abide by the agreement, secretary of state Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday.

“The United States today declares it has found Russia in material breach of the treaty and will suspend our obligations as a remedy effective in 60 days unless Russia returns to full and verifiable compliance,” Pompeo said.

He said the US will produce, test and deploy new missiles currently banned under the treaty, a move that could pave the way for a nuclear arms race.

Security adviser John Bolton has ordered the Pentagon to “develop and deploy ground-launched missiles at the earliest possible date”, according to a leaked memo published by the Washington Post.

NATO members would have to unanimously agree to hosting US missiles, which could take a long period of time to develop.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Tuesday said Pompeo’s ultimatum means Russia is facing its “last chance” to show it can abide by the INF Treaty.

If Russia do not demonstrate compliance, NATO and its allies must prepare for a world in which these “dangerous” missiles could be used in a nuclear conflict, he said.

Buzhinskiy said Russia has been developing missile systems capable of bypassing US defences long before the INF Treaty entered troubled waters.

He said work on hypersonic missiles when the US withdrew from Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, or ABM Treaty, in June 2002.

Under the arms control treaty, signed in 1972 by the former US president Richard Nixon Soviet Union leader Leonid Brezhnev, the number of anti-ballistic missile (ABM) complexes were limited.

Buzhinskiy said: “We started to work on this system after the US withdrew from an ABM treaty.

“Russia had to do something. Our military and our scientists started to work hard on missiles that can overcome ABM system. That’s natural.”

The Kinzhal missile system is one of the “invincible” hypersonic weapons Putin claimed he was developing during his annual state of the nation speech this year.

Russia successfully test-launched a Kinzhal hypersonic missile that was fired from a MiG-31 fighter jet in March this year.

The Kinzhal has an operating range of over 2,000km and can reach speeds of 7,670 mph, making it “invulnerable to the air defense and anti-ballistic missile systems existing today”, Russian news agency TASS reported.

The countries hosting US missile systems will become targets for Russia in case of the US withdrawal from the INF Treaty, Chief of Russia’s General Staff Valery Gerasimov told a briefing for foreign military attaches on Wednesday.

“As military professionals, you should understand that not the US territory, but the countries hosting US systems with intermediate-range and shorter-range missiles will become targets for Russia’s retaliatory steps,” Gerasimov said.