Putin threatens to target West with new missiles


In terms of foreign policy, Orlov said Putin would focus on the USA withdrawal from a key arms control treaty between Moscow and Washington.

"Russia will be forced to create and deploy weapon systems, which can be used not only against the territories from which this direct threat would be projected, but also against those territories where decision centers are located, from which an order to use those weapons against us may come." . But Washington said a year ago that the "unlimited range" cruise missile had crashed during tests.

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.

Last year, Putin used his annual address to unveil a new arsenal of weapons in a almost two-hour speech that stunned the West and many in Russian Federation.

While Washington says it won't deploy new land-based nuclear weapons in Europe, the USA and its allies are laying the groundwork to deploy new intermediate-range conventional missiles there for the first time since they were banned by the treaty.

The threat, which appears to describe Washington and other European capitals, came after the United States and then Russian Federation suspended compliance with the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty.

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.

In his speech on Wednesday, Putin said that a submarine capable of carrying a new underwater drone with nuclear strike capability, which is called Poseidon, would be launched this spring, and also spoke of the successful development of a new hypersonic missile called Tsirkon.

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He said the Zircon program will not be too costly as the missile has been created to equip Russia's existing surface ships and submarines.

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a state-of-the-nation address in Moscow, Russia.

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

The threat came amid growing fears of a new arms race.

"We can not wait, the situation must change for the better now", Putin told assembled lawmakers from the lower house State Duma and upper house Federation Council.

Putin also emphasised the need to combat poverty, saying that 19 million of Russia's approximately 147 million people live below the official poverty line, now the equivalent of around US$160 ($232) a month.

Past year the government's statistics agency said the country's birth rate had fallen by 11 percent in 2017 to the lowest level in a decade. Putin, whose popularity ratings are at a five-year low, promised increased public spending, lower taxes for families and better living conditions for Russians.

But a year on, Putin has seen his popularity slide against a backdrop of economic problems.