Russian President Vladimir Putin boasted Thursday that Russia has developed a new generation of nuclear weapons capable of bypassing any missile defense system — a claim that drew a rebuke from the White House and raised the specter of a rekindled Cold War-style arms rivalry.
Some analysts said the bellicose tone of Putin’s state of the nation speech appeared mainly meant to bolster a tough image in advance of this month’s presidential election, in which his victory is a foregone conclusion. Others questioned whether the new Russian weapon, if it exists, would represent a genuine threat to American security.
Putin’s rhetoric, replete with warnings that the Kremlin would respond accordingly to any nuclear attack on Russia or its allies, marked some of the most aggressive language he has deployed in the 13 months that President Trump has been in office.
“No one was listening,” the Russian leader declared. “Now you will listen.”