Speaking at his annual State of the Nation address, Putin boasted about a series of the new weapons — including underwater drones capable of launching nuclear strikes and a hypersonic missile — that he said were all-but invulnerable to missile-defense systems.
He said the nuclear-powered cruise missile had been successfully tested in late 2017 as he showed a video apparently of the test.
“The missile’s test-launch and ground trials make it possible to create a brand-new weapon, a strategic nuclear missile powered by a nuclear engine,” Putin told an audience in a hall by the Kremlin. “The range is unlimited. It can maneuver for an unlimited period of time.
“No one in the world has anything similar,” Putin said to applause.
The video showed the missile’s firing into the sky and then flying, before switching to a graphic that simulated the rocket’s meandering around the globe, headed toward the United States before turning south and flying down to the South Atlantic.
Putin said Russia was developing the array of new weapons in response to the United States’ creation of a missile-defense shield that has been partly deployed in Europe. A refusal to listen to Russia’s concerns about the shield, which Moscow has voiced for well over a decade, had forced it to develop a deterrent that could overcome any conceivable kind of missile defense, he said.
“No one listened to us,” Putin said. “Listen to us now.”
Russia is also now in the “active phase” of testing a new intercontinental-ballistic missile, known as the Sarmat, that would replace its Soviet predecessor and could carry more warheads and fly further, he said.
Putin said the missile, which was previously known and has been named Satan 2 by NATO, effectively has no range limit, is able to reach “any point in the world” and could not be stopped by any missile-defense system.
Another weapon, a hypersonic missile carried by aircraft, called “Kinzhal” or “Dagger,” had already been deployed in Russia’s Southern Military District, he said.
He painted a terrifying picture of another of the weapons, a new intercontinental-hypersonic missile called “Avangard,”‘ which he said could fly at 20 times the speed of sound.
“It comes to targets like a meteorite; like a burning sphere,” Putin said.
Putin presented the weapons as lifting Russia into a new league of nuclear deterrent, putting it on a par with the United States for the foreseeable future. He stressed that the new weapons were intended to be entirely defensive, saying Russia wants “constructive relations” with the United States and the European Union, which he said Russia would always consider partners.
“I’d like to stress that Russia’s growing military might does not threaten anyone, and we have never planned to use this potential for offensive, even more so aggressive purposes,” Putin said. “We are not threatening anyone, and have no intention to attack anyone or grab anything from anyone at gunpoint.
“Russia’s growing military might is a reliable guarantee of peace on earth,” he added, “because this might continue to help maintain the strategic balance and the global balance of forces, which, as you know, has been a key factor of international security since World War II.”