Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses the Federal Assembly, including the State Duma parliamentarians, members of the Federation Council, regional governors and other high-ranking officials, in Moscow, Russia March 1, 2018. Photo: Reuters/Maxim Shemetov

Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a speech on Thursday that Moscow is testing a new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that is invulnerable to Western anti-missile systems.

He also claimed Russia has a new supersonic cruise missile that can overwhelm NATO defenses as well as underwater drones capable of carrying nuclear bombs in an annual state of the nation speech to parliament.

Putin’s presentation, which was dramatized by animated images of Russia’s new arsenal, also showed a new submarine that can can destroy US aircraft carriers.

A new ICBM codenamed Sarmat, according to the president, weighs more than 200 tonnes. The missile is said to have a greater range than its predecessors and can fly at minimal altitude.

“No anti-missile system – even in the future – has a hope of getting in its way,” said the president.

Putin says the nuclear-armed undersea drones can travel in deep water “at speeds many times that of current submarines, the most modern torpedoes and even the speediest of surface boats.” The weapon is said to be capable of destroying coastal towns and facilities.

Moscow’s latest cruise missiles were also credited with having a range “dozens” of times above current models and were capable of flying at unpredictable trajectories and low-altitudes.

“Their ability to move around missile shield intercepts make them invincible for all current and projected anti-missile and anti-aircraft systems,” Putin said.

White House response

Responding to a question about Putin’s comments, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that the Russian president “has confirmed what the United States government has known all along,” namely, that Russia has been developing “destabilizing weapons systems for over a decade in direct violations of its treaty obligations.”

Sanders added that US defense capabilities “are and will remain second to none.”

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