Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed that NATO cannot intercept a new range of Russian nuclear weapons in a speech Thursday, displaying computer-generated images of the weapons.
In a state of the nation address on Thursday, the Russian strongman boasted of a new array of weapons including a nuclear-powered cruise missile, a nuclear-powered underwater drone, and a new hypersonic missile that he claims are unparalleled in strength and would render any NATO missile defense system “useless.”
“I want to tell all those who have fueled the arms race over the last 15 years, sought to win unilateral advantages over Russia, introduced unlawful sanctions aimed to contain our country’s development: all that you wanted to impede with your policies have already happened,” Putin declared. “You have failed to contain Russia.”
Putin’s speech was accompanied by a series of computer-generated images showing the strength of his underwater drone, which he says operates at a speed ten times faster than a typical vessel, making it near impossible to intercept.
“No one in the world has anything like that,” he said. “It may appear someday, but by that time we will develop something new.”
Such developments are seen largely as a response to President Donald Trump’s substantial increase of the U.S. military budget, to which Russia has repeatedly threatened a reaction.
“No one has listened to us,” he continued. “You listen to us now.”
Putin insisted that such military developments are purely for defensive purposes and will eventually “guarantee global peace.”
“We will interpret any use of nuclear weapons against Russia and its allies no matter how powerful they are, of low, medium or any other yield, as a nuclear attack,” he said. “It will trigger an immediate answer with all the consequences stemming from it. No one should have any doubts about it.”
“We aren’t threatening anyone, we aren’t going to attack anyone, we aren’t going to take anything from anyone,” he added. “The growing Russian military power will guarantee global peace.”
Putin’s speech comes weeks before Russia’s presidential election, which he is widely expected to win amid concerns over its democratic legitimacy.
There are currently seven opposition candidates running against Putin, although many have faced claims that they are in fact part of a ‘controlled opposition’ designed to guarantee Putin’s return to the presidency for another six years.
The most popular opposition candidate, anti-corruption campaigner Alexei Navalny, is barred from running and has called for a boycott of the election which he argues will be rigged in Putin’s favor.
The first round of voting will be held on Sunday, March 18.