Russian President Vladimir Putin pledged in a speech to his defense chiefs that the state will invest "unlimited" funds in its military.
He also emphasized Russia's commitment to maintaining and developing its nuclear triad, calling it the "main guarantee of preserving our sovereignty and territorial integrity." A nuclear triad is a military force structure that consists of land-launched nuclear missiles, nuclear-missile-armed submarines, and aircraft with nuclear bombs and missiles.
Putin vowed to ensure that Russia's nuclear forces are combat-ready, adding that Russia's hypersonic Sarmat missile, nicknamed "Satan II" and capable of mounting nuclear strikes against the U.S., will be ready for deployment in the near future.
Putin gave the speech on Dec. 21 as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky headed off to Washington for talks with U.S. President Joe Biden and speaking in Congress.
Zelensky's trip to Washington, the first foreign visit since the start of the full-scale invasion in February, comes as the U.S. prepares to send a Patriot surface-to-air missile system to Ukraine — the most advanced air defense weapon in its arsenal that Kyiv has been long pleading for, the White House reported.
The U.S. will provide Ukraine with a Patriot battery, which includes up to eight launchers with 4-16 missiles each, depending on the type of munition used. The system is expected to be part of a new $2 billion military aid package that the U.S. plans to unveil on Dec. 21, the report said.
The same day, Russia's Deputy Chairman of the Security Council, Dmitry Medvedev, traveled to China for an unannounced meeting with President Xi Jinping to discuss the "no limits" strategic partnership between Moscow and Beijing, as well as Russia's war in Ukraine.