The U.S. State Department responded to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s broadcast of a cartoon attack on what appeared to be the United States with scorn and irritation Thursday, dismissing the video as “cheesy” and irresponsible.
During his state of the nation address this week, Putin announced that the Russian military had developed allegedly unstoppable nuclear weapons, impossible for NATO to intercept. The video was meant to highlight the technology.
“I mean, I can tell you many of us watched that speech with great interest here from the State Department, and I would imagine across U.S. Government as well,” spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters on Thursday. “It was certainly unfortunate to have watched the video animation that depicted a nuclear attack on the United States. I mean, that’s something that we certainly did not enjoy watching.”
“We don’t regard that as the behavior of a responsible international player. So I just want to make that very clear,” she insisted.
“We don’t think that kind of imagery, seeing the portrayal in a cheesy video of that kind of attack being conducted on the United States as being a responsible action,” Nauert affirmed.
She denied, however, that Putin’s announcement of possessing new nuclear weapons was a surprise to her or anyone in the Trump administration, adding that this development is “in direct violation of its treaty obligations,” specifically the Intermediate-Range And Shorter-Range Missiles (INF) Treaty.
That treaty, signed between the United States and the Soviet Union in 1987, requires both countries to destroy much of their nuclear arsenals and bans certain nuclear weapons development.
During his speech Thursday, Putin nonetheless revealed the alleged development of several nuclear military assets, including a nuclear-powered cruise missile, a nuclear-powered underwater drone, and a new hypersonic missile. The missile, he claimed, could not be intercepted by NATO and made it impossible for the Western world to disregard Russia’s military might.
“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,” he said. “You have failed to contain Russia.”
“No one has listened to us. You listen to us now,” he added, insisting that “no one in the world has anything like that.”
Putin—who during his tenure has invaded two regions of Georgia and the entirety of eastern Ukraine, and colonized the Crimean peninsula—added, “We aren’t threatening anyone, we aren’t going to attack anyone, we aren’t going to take anything from anyone.”
He also aired a video of a simulation of one of his new nuclear torpedos appearing to target and strike Florida. While Russia does not often use this sort of propaganda against the United States, nuclear strikes against America are a common sight on North Korean state television. Pyongyang has broadcast animated nuclear attack simulations on a U.S. aircraft carrier, Washington, DC, and San Francisco, among others. The Islamic State has also published videos simulating the bombing of the White House.
While Putin has condemned the Islamic State, reports suggest the Russian government has aided North Korea in overriding international sanctions placed on it for its consistent threats to launch a nuclear attack and widespread human rights violations against its own people.
Like the State Department, the Pentagon was unimpressed.
“We are confident that we are prepared to defend this nation no matter what,” Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White told reporters Thursday, insisting that American military development is “not about defense, it’s about deterrence” and that Russia is not a specific target of any such advances.