New arms race? Putin boasts of new Russian nuclear weapons

Russia has tested an array of new strategic nuclear weapons that can't be intercepted, President Vladimir Putin declared Thursday, claiming a technological breakthrough that could raise Western concerns about a potential renewed arms race.

Putin unveiled the stunning catalog of doomsday machines in his annual state-of-the-nation speech, saying that Russia had to build them to counter the potential threat posed by the U.S. missile defense system.

And in a touch of dark humor, he invited Russians to join a Defense Ministry contest to name some of the weapons.

It wasn't immediately possible to assess whether the weapons could do what Putin said or how ready they are for deployment, but they would represent a major technological breakthrough that could dramatically bolster Russia's military capability, boost its global position and trigger a new arms race.

Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said the Defense Department isn't surprised by Putin's claims of new nuclear weapons, adding that the U.S. military is prepared to defend the nation.

White told Pentagon reporters that U.S. missile defense has never been about Russia.

Washington has consistently argued that missile defense systems in Europe aren't aimed at Moscow but designed instead to defend against threats from Iran, North Korea and rogue threats.

Putin has shrugged off those arguments and said Thursday that the U.S. plans to develop its missile defense system would "eventually devalue the Russian nuclear arsenal if we sit with our arms folded."

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