President Donald Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May agreed that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent statements on nuclear weapons development are irresponsible, according to a readout of President Trump’s recent telephone call with the Prime Minister.
In a recent speech to the two houses of Parliament weeks prior to the Russian presidential election on March 18, Mr. Putin claimed that Russia has and is on course to develop new additions to its nuclear arsenal, some of which he claims can defeat any missile defenses the U.S. or NATO can deploy.
Mr. Putin accompanied his speech with a video animation showing a variety of weaponry, including nuclear-powered underwater vehicles, nuclear-powered cruise missiles which he boasted had “practically unlimited range,” and a new heavy intercontinental ballistic missile “equipped with a broad range of powerful nuclear warheads.” One missile appeared to be targeted at the U.S. southern state of Florida.
Department of State spokesperson Heather Nauert said the Kremlin’s display of that kind of imagery is not “the behavior of a responsible international player.” She noted that with his speech and animation, Mr. Putin confirmed what the United States has known for a long time and which Russia has previously denied: “that Russia has been developing destabilizing weapons systems for more than a decade…”
Ms. Nauert declared that “President Trump understands the threats facing America and our allies in this century and is determined to protect our homeland and preserve peace through strength. U.S. defense capabilities are and will remained second to none,” she added. “We have a new defense budget that’s over 700 billion dollars. We believe that our military will be stronger than ever. The President’s nuclear posture review addresses some of this. It made clear that we’re moving forward to modernize our nuclear arsenal and ensure that our capabilities remain unmatched.”