Russian President Vladimir Putin unveiled an array of new weapons on Thursday (March 1), in one of his most bellicose speeches in years, saying they could hit almost any point in the world and not be intercepted.
Putin, who polls indicate should be easily re-elected on March 18, backed his tough rhetoric with video clips of some of the new missiles he was talking about, which were projected on a giant screen behind him at the conference hall in central Moscow where he was addressing Russia’s political elite.
Among the new weapons that Putin said were either in development or ready: a new intercontinental ballistic missile, a small nuclear warhead that could be attached to cruise missiles, underwater nuclear drones, a supersonic weapon and a laser weapon.
The audience, made up of Russian lawmakers and other leading figures, frequently stood up and applauded his presentation, which culminated with the Russian national anthem being played.
Putin, who has dominated his country’s political landscape for the last 18 years and often used anti-Western rhetoric to mobilise support, said the technological advances meant that NATO‘s build-up on Russia’s borders and the roll-out of a US anti-missile system would be rendered useless.
Steps to contain Russia would also become unjustifiably expensive and pointless, he forecast.