MOSCOW — An underwater drone armed with a nuclear energy and launched from submarines that can hit aircraft carriers and coastal cities with conventional or nuclear warheads across intercontinental distances. “Practically invulnerable,” according to Putin.
A hypersonic vehicle impossible to intercept as it flies in a cloud of plasma “like a meteorite.”
President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that Russia has these new strategic weapons and many more, declaring: “No one has listened to us. You listen to us now.”
Putin unveiled the stunning catalog of doomsday machines in his annual state-of-the-nation speech, saying that Russia had to build them to counter the potential threat posed by the U.S. missile defense system.
And in a touch of dark humor, he invited Russians to join a Defense Ministry contest to name some of the weapons.
It wasn’t immediately possible to assess whether the weapons could do what Putin said or how ready they are for deployment, but they would represent a major technological breakthrough that could dramatically bolster Russia’s military capability, boost its global position and trigger a new arms race.
Nuclear-Powered Cruise Missile
Capable of delivering a warhead over “practically unlimited range” and shown on video maneuvering over the Atlantic before looping around South America to target the U.S. West Coast. Putin said the propulsion system was tested successfully late last year. “Nobody else in the world has anything like this.”
Vladimir Putin used his state-of-the-nation speech to deliver a stern warning to the U.S. that Russia has a series of new high-technology nuclear weapons that he said can overcome any defenses.
“Efforts to contain Russia have failed, face it,” Putin said in a nearly two-hour address he illustrated with video clips of the new arms, which included underwater drones, intercontinental missiles and a hypersonic system he said “heads for its target like a meteorite.”
The White House said Putin confirmed what the U.S. has already known: that Russia has been developing “destabilizing weapons systems for over a decade in direct violations of its treaty obligations.”
Spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said President Donald Trump understands the threats and that America is “moving forward to modernize our nuclear arsenal and ensure our capabilities are unmatched.”
Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White also said the Defense Department wasn’t surprised, adding that the U.S. military is prepared to defend the nation.
White told Pentagon reporters that U.S. missile defense has never been about Russia.
Washington has consistently argued that missile defense systems in Europe aren’t aimed at Moscow but designed instead to defend against threats from Iran, North Korea and rogue threats.
Putin has shrugged off those arguments and said Thursday that the U.S. plans to develop its missile defense system would “eventually devalue the Russian nuclear arsenal if we sit with our arms folded.”
He said the U.S. has underestimated Russia’s ability to mount a response, aiming for a “unilateral military advantage that could eventually allow it to dictate its terms in other areas.”
The United States should now revise its Russia policy and engage in a serious dialogue on global security, he said.
Putin said that Russia also tested a new heavy intercontinental ballistic missile, called Sarmat, which can fly over both the North and the South poles to reach any target. He said it can carry more warheads than the world’s heaviest ICBM, the Soviet-designed missile known in the West as Satan.
To complete the list, he mentioned a smaller hypersonic missile that is already operational and has a range of more than 2,000 kilometers (1,250 miles) and a new laser weapon.
Putin emphasized that the new weapons were designed in full compliance to the U.S.-Russian arms control agreements, adding that Russian military experts and diplomats would be ready to discuss new weapons systems with their U.S. counterparts.
“We aren’t threatening anyone, we aren’t going to attack anyone, we aren’t going to take anything from anyone,” he said. “The growing Russian military power will guarantee global peace.”
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