"A harsh warning in the official military newspaper Krasnaya Zvezda (Red Star), directed at the United States, says flatly ""Russia will perceive any ballistic missile launched at its territory as a nuclear attack that warrants a nuclear retaliation."
This comes on the heels of a massive explosion in the port of Beirut Lebanon, which wrecked about half of that city.
No one has yet confirmed that a missile strike triggered a massive explosion in a warehouse where 2700 tons of Ammonium Nitrate was stored, but the timing of today's warning from Russia, lends credence to such claims.
Filtered video SEEMS to show a missile striking the warehouse and triggering the massive explosion, but no official source has confirmed a missile strike.
That video (HERE) clearly shows what appears to b e a missile, hurling into the warehouse fractions of a second before the explosion.
What other reason might Russia have for issuing such a warning?
Some of Russia's top generals, including senior officer of the Russian military's General Staff, Maj.-Gen. Andrei Sterlin, claimed that in the event of an attack, radar and anti-air systems will have no way of knowing if a ballistic missile has a nuclear warhead or not.
“Any attacking missile will be perceived as carrying a nuclear warhead,” the Russian military publication said. “The information about the missile launch will be automatically relayed to the Russian military-political leadership, which will determine the scope of retaliatory action by nuclear forces depending on the evolving situation.”
“Russia has designated the ‘red lines’ that we don’t advise anyone to cross,” the Krasnaya Zvezda article said further. “If a potential adversary dares to do that, the answer will undoubtedly be devastating. The specifics of retaliatory action, such as where, when and how much will be determined by Russia’s military-political leadership depending on the situation.”
The military publication clearly upped the ante in a huge way, no doubt seeking to bolster Russian diplomats' leverage as the landmark nuclear arms reduction treaty, New START, could be on the chopping block after the US pulled out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF).
New START will expire in February 2021 if the two sides don't agree to renew it. So far ongoing talks between Moscow and Washington have failed to extend it by up to five years, despite pressure to strike an extension by America's allies.