Putin: New Russian nukes are answer to U.S. leaving arms treaty

By Susan McFarland  |  March 1, 2018 at 1:11 PM
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March 1 (UPI) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday his country has developed supersonic nuclear weapons that can reach anywhere in the world, and are "invulnerable to enemy interception."

During his state of the union address to Russian lawmakers in Moscow, Putin said the weapons cannot be tracked by anti-missile systems.

"Russia remained a nuclear power, but no one wanted to listen to us. Listen to us now," he said.

The Russian president said the new nuclear weapons were successfully tested late last year -- and said tests are ongoing for underwater drones that can carry nuclear warheads.

The Kremlin leader said his country will not be the aggressor if the missiles are used, but emphasized they would be used in response to a nuclear attack.

Putin described the nuclear weapon as a missile with an unlimited range that can maneuver for as long as necessary.

"No other country has developed anything like this," he said. "There will be something similar one day but by that time our guys will have come up with something even better."

Putin said the new weapons are being created as a response to the United States' unilateral withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.

"We did our best to dissuade the Americans from withdrawing from the treaty. All in vain. The U.S. pulled out of the treaty in 2002," Putin said. "Even after that we tried to develop constructive dialogue with the Americans. We proposed working together in this area to ease concerns and maintain the atmosphere of trust."

Putin told lawmakers that at one point he believed a compromise was possible

"But this was not to be. All our proposals, absolutely all of them, were rejected."

"All these years, the entire 15 years since the withdrawal of the United States from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, we have consistently tried to reengage the American side in serious discussions, in reaching agreements in the sphere of strategic stability," he added.

Putin said one step toward accomplishing the goal was reached in 2010 when Russia and the United States signed the New START treaty to reduce and limit strategic offensive arms.

The Russian president said despite the treaty, the Unites States is "permitting constant, uncontrolled growth of the number of anti-ballistic missiles, improving their quality, and creating new missile launching areas."

"If we do not do something, eventually this will result in the complete devaluation of Russia's nuclear potential," he said. "Despite our numerous protests and pleas, the American machine has been set into motion, the conveyer belt is moving forward."

Putin said Russia's response to the challenge presented by the United States is making new models of strategic weapons.

"During all these years since the unilateral U.S. withdrawal from the ABM Treaty, we have been working intensively on advanced equipment and arms, which allowed us to make a breakthrough in developing new models of strategic weapons," he said.

Putin's address came less than three weeks before Russia's presidential election. He is an overwhelming favorite to win another term on March 18.

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