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New Arm Race: Putin Launches ‘Invincible’ Nuclear Weapons To Counter US

PRESIDENT Vladimir Putin unveiled an array of new nuclear weapons on Thursday, in one of his most bellicose speeches in years, saying they could hit almost any point in the world and evade a United States-built missile shield.

It was a launch of what appeared to be the start of a new arms race with Washington, as Putin boasted of a new generation of “invincible” Russian weapons developed in response to the threat posed by the US.

He was speaking ahead of an election on March 18 that polls indicate he should win easily. He said a nuclear attack on any of Moscow’s

allies would be regarded as an attack on Russia itself and draw an immediate response.

Putin, 65, praised Russia’s new hypersonic missiles and cutting-edge submarines during a state of the nation address that also touched on economic and social policy ahead of a presidential election this month he is widely expected to win.

The president usually delivers the annual speech in the Kremlin but this year spoke from a nearby exhibition centre allowing him to show a series of slick video montages of missiles manoeuvring across mountains and oceans, and heading over the Atlantic.

Putin quoted a speech he gave back in 2004, vowing that Russia would develop a new generation of weaponry, a promise that he said has now been fulfilled. “No one really wanted to talk to us basically. No one listened to us then. Listen to us now,” Putin said, prompting a standing ovation from the audience of top officials, lawmakers and celebrities.

He presented Russia’s military efforts as a response to recent actions by the United States, which last month unveiled plans to revamp its nuclear arsenal and develop new low-yield atomic weapons.

The moves come as rela- tions between the global powers plummeted to levels not seen since the Cold War over crises in Ukraine and Syria, and accusations that Moscow interfered in the US election in 2016.

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