Pentagon 'not surprised' by new Putin nuclear threats

Pentagon 'not surprised' by new Putin nuclear threats
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The Pentagon says it is "not surprised" after Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday revealed a new nuclear weapon it claims makes nuclear defense systems "useless."

“We’re not surprised by the statement, and the American people should rest assured that we are fully prepared,” Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White told reporters after the announcement by Putin. “We need to ensure we have a credible nuclear deterrent, and we are confident that we are prepared to defend this nation no matter what.” 

Earlier in the day, Putin said in a nationally televised annual address that Russia had at least four new weapons, including an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching nearly any target in the world that makes defense systems “useless.” 

Putin also claimed that the West has ignored Russia but should “listen to us now.”

"Any use of nuclear weapons against Russia or its allies … any kind of attack … will be regarded as a nuclear attack against Russia, and in response we will take action instantaneously no matter what the consequences are," he said.

Last month, the Pentagon unveiled its Nuclear Posture Review, which calls for developing smaller, low-yield nuclear weapons to deter Russia and China.

Putin said the new U.S. policies have “raised concerns in Russia.”

White countered that the need for low-yield nuclear weapons “is because of many of the things Russia has done,” but added that U.S. missile defense plans have never been about Moscow.

“We need to ensure we have a credible nuclear deterrent, and we are confident that we are prepared to ... defend this nation no matter what,” she said.