Russia has developed a new array of nuclear weapons that are invincible, according to President Vladimir Putin. Mr Putin made the claims as he laid out his key policies for a fourth presidential term, ahead of an election he is expected to win in 17 days’ time.
The weapons he boasted of included a cruise missile that he said could “reach anywhere in the world”.
He said of the West: “They need to take account of a new reality and understand … [this]… is not a bluff.”
Giving his annual state of the nation speech, Mr Putin used video presentations to showcase the development of two new nuclear delivery systems that he said could evade detection.
One included a “low-flying, difficult-to-spot cruise missile… with a practically unlimited range and an unpredictable flight path, which can bypass lines of interception and is invincible in the face of all existing and future systems of both missile defence and air defence”.
Another weapon he discussed was a submarine-launched, long-range missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead.
During the two-hour televised speech to a joint sitting of both houses of parliament, he encouraged Russians to suggest names for the two systems. He argued that Russia had reacted after years of pleading with the US not to break away from anti-missile treaties.
Mr Putin faces seven challengers on 18 March, although none is expected to attract widespread support. The president played no part in a raucous televised debate broadcast on Wednesday that featured the other candidates.
Absent from the campaign is prominent opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who has been barred from running and has called on voters to boycott the poll.
President Putin has so far done little campaigning, and until now said little about his plans for the next six years.