Putin doubles down on nuclear capabilities in sit-down interview with NBC
Russian President Vladimir Putin doubled down on his claims about Russia’s nuclear capabilities Thursday following his announcement earlier in the day unveiling new drones and nuclear weapons systems.
“As a matter of fact, every single weapons system discussed today easily surpasses and avoids an anti-missile defense system,” Putin said in an interview with NBC News’ Megyn Kelly that aired Thursday evening.
According to Putin’s announcement, the nuclear missiles are “invincible” and are able to navigate with an “unlimited” range.
Putin told Kelly that some of the missiles are battle ready, and the nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missiles have been successfully tested.
“All of those tests were successful,” Putin told Kelly. “It’s just each of these weapons systems is at a different stage of readiness. One of them is already on combat duty. It’s with troops.”
After Putin’s announcement earlier Thursday, US officials downplayed the Russian military’s show of force, calling a video display released by Moscow “cheesy.”
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said, “We don’t think it’s responsible.” Pentagon officials said Americans should rest assured that “we are fully prepared,” even as experts cast doubt on the truth of Putin’s claims.
Similarly, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said, “President Putin has confirmed what the United States government has known all along, which Russia has denied. Russia has been developing destabilizing weapons systems for over a decade, in direct violation of its treaty obligations.”
Putin, however, blamed the United States for any perceived arms race.
“My point of view is the individuals who have said that a new cold war has started are not really analysts; they do propaganda,” Putin said. “If you were to speak about arms race, then an arms race began at exactly the time and moment when the US opted out of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.”