In Depth

Vladimir Putin boasts of new ‘invincible’ missile with unlimited range

Russia president says supersonic nuclear weapon can breach any defence system

Vladimir Putin has warned the West that Russia has developed a supersonic nuclear weapon that can reach any spot on Earth while avoiding missile defence systems.

The so-called “invincible missile” is just one in a “line of strategic, nuclear-capable weapons that would be able to outmanoeuvre US defences, suggesting a new arms race between Moscow and the West”, says The Guardian.

In a televised speech, Putin said Russia’s new weapons made NATO’s US-led missile defence system “useless” and signalled the failure of Western efforts to check his country’s nuclear ambitions.

“I would like to tell those who have been trying to escalate the arms race for the past 15 years, to gain unilateral advantages over Russia, and to impose restrictions and sanctions ... The attempt at curbing Russia has failed,” the president said, in his annual state of the nation address.

Putin warned that Moscow would retaliate against any nuclear attacks on its allies.

“We would consider any use of nuclear weapons against Russia or its allies to be a nuclear attack on our country. The response would be immediate,” he said.

The Russian leader also boasted of another weapon, called Avangard, which he described as an intercontinental hypersonic missile that would fly towards targets at 20 times the speed of sound and strike “like a meteorite, like a fireball”.

The address comes as Putin prepares to run for a fourth term, in the 18 March presidential election, which he is expected to win comfortably.

He “made clear his priorities for his next six-year presidential term”, says Bloomberg - and “spent about as much time talking about Russia’s new strategic weaponry as about all domestic policies put together”.

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