President Vladimir Putin says the Russian military will start receiving new nuclear weapons in the coming years.
Speaking at a meeting Friday in Sochi, Putin said delivery of the new Avangard hypersonic vehicle will begin next year while the new Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile will enter duty in 2020.
The Avangard and the Sarmat were among an array of new nuclear weapons Putin presented in March. He noted that they can't be intercepted. They also included a nuclear-powered global range cruise missile and an underwater drone designed to strike coastal facilities with a heavy nuclear weapon.
Putin said two other new systems unveiled in March — the Kinzhal hypersonic missile and the laser weapon called — have already been put on duty with the units of Russia's Southern Military District.
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In March, Putin announced that Russia has tested an array of new strategic nuclear weapons that can't be intercepted, marking a technological breakthrough that could dramatically increase Russia's military capability, boost the Kremlin's global position and also raise Western concerns about a potential renewed arms race in the 21st century.
Speaking in a state-of-the-nation speech, Putin said the weapons include a nuclear-powered cruise missile, a nuclear-powered underwater drone and new hypersonic missile that have no equivalent elsewhere in the world. He said the creation of the new weapons has made NATO's U.S.-led missile defense "useless," and means an effective end to what he described as Western efforts to stymie Russia's development.
"I want to tell all those who have fueled the arms race over the last 15 years, sought to win unilateral advantages over Russia, introduced unlawful sanctions aimed to contain our country's development: all what you wanted to impede with your policies have already happened," he said. "You have failed to contain Russia."