Putin’s ‘Invincible’ weapon Is Aimed at U.S. Vulnerabilities

President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia threatened the West with a new generation of nuclear weapons Thursday, including what he described as an “invincible” intercontinental cruise missile and a nuclear torpedo that could outsmart all American defenses.The presentation by Mr. Putin, which included animation videos depicting multiple warheads aimed at Florida, where President Trump often stays at his Mar-a-Lago resort, sharply escalated the military invective in the tense relationship between the United States and Russia, which has led to predictions of a costly new nuclear arms race.

President Vladimir V. Putin presented new missile in his annual speech, delivered on Thursday in Moscow.

While Mr. Putin may have been bluffing about these weapons, as some experts suggested, he cleverly focused on a vulnerability of American-designed defenses: They are based on the assumption that enemy nuclear missiles fly high and can be destroyed well before they reach their targets.

The new class of Russian weapons, he said, travel low, stealthily, far and fast — too fast for defenders to react.

Mr. Putin’s announcement, in his annual state of the nation address, seemed intended chiefly to stir the patriotic passions of Russians at a moment when he is heading into a re-election campaign, even though his victory is assured in what amounts to a one-candidate race.

He also used the speech to reassure Russians that the military buildup was taking place even as the government was spending big sums to improve the quality of their lives.

But the main attention grabber in the speech was the weapons, which Mr. Putin described as a response to what he called the repudiation of arms control by the United States and its plans for a major weapons buildup.

“With the missile launched and a set of ground tests completed, we can now proceed with the construction of a fundamentally new type of weapon, Mr. Putin said.

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