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US accuses Russia of breaching treaties with ‘invincible’ weapons

President Vladimir Putin

Washington, United States | AFP | The United States has accused Moscow of openly breaching Cold War-era treaties by developing what Russian President Vladimir Putin called a new generation of “invincible” hypersonic weapons and submarines.

Putin unveiled the new arsenal Thursday in a state of the nation address, challenging Washington to a new arms race ahead of a March 18 presidential election that will all but certainly confirm his grip on power.

Putin left his usual Kremlin perch to speak from a nearby exhibition center — allowing him to show a series of video montages of missiles crossing mountains and oceans, heading over the Atlantic before striking the US eastern seaboard.

He quoted a speech he gave in 2004, vowing that Russia would develop a new generation of weaponry, a promise he said he has now fulfilled.

“No one really wanted to talk to us basically. No one listened to us then. Listen to us now,” Putin said, prompting a standing ovation from the audience of top officials, lawmakers and celebrities.

He presented Russia’s military efforts as a response to actions by the United States, which last month unveiled plans to revamp its own nuclear arsenal and develop new low-yield atomic weapons.

And underscoring the tensions between the powers, Russia called off strategic talks with the US set for this month after a Washington delegation snubbed a meeting on cybersecurity, Moscow’s ambassador to the US told TASS news agency Friday.

– ‘Cheesy’ attack video –

The US State Department expressed outrage at Putin’s presentation and his “cheesy” animated video of warheads over US soil — and said the Russian leader had confirmed long-held allegations about his program.

Spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters it was “unfortunate” to have watched a video animation that depicted a nuclear attack on the United States.

“We don’t regard that as the behavior of a responsible international player,” she said.

“President Putin has confirmed what the United States government has known for a long time but that Russia has denied prior to this.

“Russia has been developing destabilizing weapons systems for more than a decade in direct violation of its treaty obligations.”

Nauert said Moscow had proven itself in violation of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), through its development of ground-launched cruise missiles.

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