Putin Threatens US with New Weapons if Missiles Deployed to Europe

Putin was elected to a fourth term last year with more than 76 percent of the vote

Russia's Putin to give annual address as popularity slides

Alleging Russian violations, Washington said this month it was suspending its obligations under the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) and starting the process of quitting it, untying its hands to develop new missiles.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin warned the United States against deploying new missiles in Europe, threatening to retaliate in kind by targeting Western capitals with his own new weaponry.

The Russian land-based missiles that now target the United States are based on Russian territory and therefore the flight time to major USA population centers would be longer than for US missiles deployed in Europe.

Putin rejected the United States claim that its withdrawal from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty was prompted by Russian violations of the pact. Putin responded to the U.S. move by saying Russian Federation would mirror the United States moves by suspending its own obligations and quitting the pact.

"Russia will be forced to create and deploy weapons that can both be used on the territories from which the direct threat to us originates, as well as the territories where the centers of decision-making are located", Putin said during his 15th State of the Nation address before the federal assembly in Moscow on Wednesday.

But he said that Russia's reaction to any deployment would be resolute and that US policy-makers, some of whom he said were obsessed with USA exceptionalism, should calculate the risks before taking any steps.

He added that other new weapons he announced past year, including the nuclear-powered Burevestnik cruise missile and the Poseidon nuclear-powered underwater drone, have been undergoing tests successfully.

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a state-of-the-nation address in Moscow, Russia. The Russian head again threatened the US, "They are talented, for sure, but can they count?"

While the Russian leader didn't say what specific new weapons Moscow could deploy, his statement further raised the ante in tense relations with Washington. "Within this year (Russians) should feel changes for the better".

Putin said the first batch of Avangard hypersonic glide vehicles will be deployed this year.

"We don't want confrontation, particularly with such a global power as the USA", he said.

Earlier, during his annual address to Russian lawmakers, Putin warned the U.S. not to deploy medium and short-range nuclear missilesin Europe, saying it would "dramatically exacerbate the global security situation" and create serious challenges to Russia.

Is a new hypersonic arms race underway?

Putin lamented that some 19 million Russians were living below the poverty line, saying: "This is too much ... the state should help". He also promised tax breaks, lower mortgage rates and housing subsidies for families with several children.

Putin said in the speech that tests of the Poseidon have been conducted successfully and the first submarine equipped to carry it will be commissioned later this year.

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