Russian President Vladimir Putin boasted of a new array of nuclear weapons that are invincible. Mr Putin made the claims as he laid out his key policies for a fourth presidential term, ahead of an election he is expected to win in 18th March this year.
The weapons he boasted of included a cruise missile that he said could “reach anywhere in the world”. Giving his annual state of the nation speech, Mr Putin used video presentations to showcase the development of two new nuclear delivery systems that he said could evade detection.
One system Mr Putin described included a “low-flying, difficult-to-spot cruise missile… with a practically unlimited range and an unpredictable flight path, which can bypass lines of interception and is invincible in the face of all existing and future systems of both missile defence and air defence”. Another was a submarine-launched, long-range missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead.
The missile, called the Avangard, has been successfully tested, Russia Strategic Missile Force Commander Sergei Karakayev told the state news agency Tass.
With a video graphic appearing to show missiles raining on Florida,a US official with knowledge of the latest Russian military assessment expressed doubt to CNN that the weapons Putin described were anywhere near operational, and said that if Russia ever attacked the United States it would be met with overwhelming force.
US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said department officials watched Putin’s speech which included an animation of a nuclear strike against the United States with interest.
“It was certainly unfortunate to have watched the video animation that depicted a nuclear attack on the United States,” she said. “That’s certainly something that we did not enjoy watching. We don’t regard that as the behavior of a responsible international player.”