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Putin to US: I’m ready for another Cuban Missile crisis if you want one

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President Vladimir Putin has said that Russia is militarily ready for a Cuban Missile-style crisis if the United States is foolish enough to want one and that his country currently has the edge when it comes to a first nuclear strike.

The Cuban Missile Crisis erupted in 1962 when Moscow responded to a U.S. missile deployment in Turkey by sending ballistic missiles to Cuba, sparking a standoff that brought the world to the brink of nuclear war.

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More than five decades on, tensions are rising again over Russian fears that the United States might deploy intermediate-range nuclear missiles in Europe as a landmark Cold war-era arms control treaty unravels.

Putin’s comments, made to Russian media late on Wednesday, follow his warning that Moscow will match any U.S. move to deploy new missiles closer to Russia by stationing its own missiles closer to the United States or by deploying faster missiles or both.

Putin fleshed out his warning in detail for the first time, saying Russia could deploy hypersonic missiles on ships and submarines which could lurk outside U.S. territorial waters if Washington now moved to deploy intermediate-range nuclear weapons in Europe.

“(We’re talking about) naval delivery vehicles: submarines or surface ships. And we can put them, given the speed and range (of our missiles)… in neutral waters. Plus they are not stationary, they move and they will have to find them,” Putin said, according to a Kremlin transcript.

“You work it out. Mach nine (the speed of the missiles) and over 1,000 km (their range).”

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TREATY VIOLATIONS
The U.S. State Department dismissed Putin’s earlier warning as propaganda, saying it was designed to divert attention from what Washington alleges are Moscow’s violations of the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.

The pact, which banned Russia and the United States from stationing short- and intermediate-range, land-based missiles in Europe, is in its death throes, raising the prospect of a new arms race between Washington and Moscow.

Putin has said he does not want an arms race with the United States, but that he would have no choice but to act if Washington deployed new missiles in Europe, some of which he says would be able to strike Moscow within 10-12 minutes.

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Putin said his naval response to such a move would mean Russia could strike the United States faster than U.S. missiles deployed in Europe could hit Moscow because the flight time would be shorter.

“It (the calculation) would not be in their favor, at least as things stand today. That’s for sure.” said Putin.

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Relations between Moscow and Washington were strained, he added, but the tensions were not comparable to those of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

“They (the tensions) are not a reason to ratchet up confrontation to the levels of the Cuban Missile Crisis in the 1960s. In any case that’s not what we want,” said Putin. “If someone wants that, well OK they are welcome. I have set out today what that would mean. Let them count (the missile flight times).”

Editing by Gareth Jones

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Devin Nunes ‘needs a hug’: Impeachment viewers ridicule Republicans as their witnesses’ testimony backfires

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Reps. Devin Nunes (R-CA) and Micahel Turner (R-OH) complained in the open House Intelligence Committee Tuesday that the hearings were going longer and Democrats were adding time to the 45 minutes they'd reserved for each side to question witnesses.

In past hearings run by Republicans, the questioning was cut significantly short, where Democrats are allowing for as many minutes as needed for both sides. It's unknown why Nunes was so concerned about the time, he claimed that people were turning off their televisions, which is contrary to what has been reported about the ratings for the hearings, which have doubled.

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Trump pardoned Edward Gallagher for war crimes — but the Navy is still ousting him from the SEALs: report

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The acceptability of committing war crimes while in uniform is putting the U.S. Navy on a collision course with President Donald Trump's White House.

"The Navy SEAL at the center of a high-profile war crimes case has been ordered to appear before Navy leaders Wednesday morning, and is expected to be notified that the Navy intends to oust him from the elite commando force," The New York Times reported Tuesday, citing "two Navy officials."

"The move could put the SEAL commander, Rear Adm. Collin Green, in direct conflict with President Trump, who last week cleared the sailor, Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher, of any judicial punishment in the war crimes case. Military leaders opposed that action as well as Mr. Trump’s pardons of two soldiers involved in other murder cases," the newspaper reported.

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Climate groups applaud Gavin Newsom’s temporary fracking ban in California, but say other ‘critical next steps’ still needed

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"Relentless organizing" by climate action groups across California forced the governor to call for a moratorium on fracking, 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben said.

Anti-fracking advocates were cautiously optimistic Tuesday after California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a moratorium on fracking in the state and new steps to mitigate the disastrous public health effects that extractive industries have on communities.

Author and 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben credited "relentless organizing" with pressuring the Democratic governor to ban—at least temporarily—the high-pressure steam injection central to the fracking process and pledge to reverse the increase in drilling permits that's taken place under Newsom's administration.

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