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Russia denies it broke arms laws with Sarmat nuclear missile

By Susan McFarland

March 2 (UPI) -- The Kremlin on Friday rejected accusations that Russia violated international arms laws by developing a new hypersonic, "invulnerable" nuclear missile that can supposedly hit any target in the world.

Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Friday the Sarmat missile, announced by Russian President Vladimir Putin in his state of the union address Thursday, "does not threaten anyone in any way."

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"We strongly reject any accusations of Russia violating some international laws concerning arms control," Peskov added. "Russia has been, is and will remain committed to all of its international obligations."

The spokesman said Russia's nuclear doctrine explicitly outlines circumstances that permit the use of such weapons -- including a nuclear attack on Russia or an attack by other weapons that threaten Russian security.

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"Our nuclear doctrine determines no other reasons for the use of nuclear weapons," Peskov stressed.

During Putin's address, he boasted of Russia's new supersonic nuclear weapon, saying the missile is "invulnerable to enemy interception" and can't be tracked by anti-missile systems.

Putin also said the new missile was created as a response to the United States' unilateral withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty years ago.

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"The other side also has the armaments, against which Russia is incapable of protecting itself," Peskov said. "This is a guarantee that weapons won't be used."

During a video demonstration of the new missile, what appeared to be the state of Florida was used in a graphic showing a missile attack.

Peskov denied the graphic was a depiction of Florida, saying the images used "were by no means related to specific countries."

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"I did not see a map of Florida [there]," Peskov said. "I see no grounds to say that some states of the United States were used there."

Putin encouraged a naming contest for the missile during his speech, saying "Those interested in military equipment are welcome to suggest a name for this new weaponry."

Within two hours, an online competition was launched with fans giving suggestions on the Russian Defense Ministry's Facebook page. "Goodbye America," "Kremlin's Hand," "Peace Envoy," "Boomerang," and "She Drowned" were among a few proposals.

More than 63,000 name suggestions were posted on the ministry's website in the first 17 hours after the competition was announced.

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