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Cotton Statement on Report of New Russian Unmanned Underwater Vehicle Capable of Delivering Nuclear Weapons Against the United States

November 12, 2015

Contact: Caroline Rabbitt (202) 224-2353

Washington, D.C.- Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) today released the following statement on an apparent accidental disclosure of a new secret Russian unmanned underwater vehicle, that would be capable of delivering nuclear payloads and inflicting catastrophic damage against U.S. port cities:

"It comes as little surprise that Russia would be developing a destabilizing weapon whose purpose is to inflict mass civilian casualties. Over the last six years, President Obama has cut the size of our military, held defense spending hostage, rolled back important components of missile defense, and watched fecklessly as Putin shattered what had been the bedrock of stability in Europe for nearly three decades: the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. No wonder the Kremlin believes that it can make forays into Ukraine and Syria or develop new destabilizing systems like ‘Status-6' with little or no consequence.

"We must meet Putin's actions with firm resolve. He cannot simply introduce a new class of nuclear weapons and face no reprecussions. Until Putin provides the details of this new weapons system, President Obama should halt all reductions required under the New START Treaty, reinstate canceled aspects of U.S. missile defense, recommit to modernizing all aspects of the U.S. nuclear triad, and accelerate the development and deployment of systems designed to counter Russia's violations of the INF Treaty."

Background: During coverage of a November 10, 2015 meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his top generals, a press camera inadvertently captured a classified Russian document outlining a new nuclear weapon delivery system. Publicly available translations of the document reportedly describe the project, called "Ocean Multipurpose System ‘Status-6'" as a system whose mission is:

"Damaging the important components of the adversary's economy in a coastal area and inflicting unacceptable damage to a country's territory by creating areas of wide radioactive contamination that would be unsuitable for military, economic, or other activity for long periods of time."

This disclosure was later confirmed by Russian Presidential Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov who stated that "In fact, some classified data got in the focus of the camera, therefore, it was erased later. We hope that this will not be repeated anymore," Peskov told reporters, explaining why these pictures were later cut from the TV footages.