You may have heard today that Vladimir Putin gave his annual state of the nation speech, during which he debuted an “invincible” intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that can evade American missile defense systems. To demonstrate this, he capped off the presentation with animated videos depicting warheads hitting Florida.
Immediately, American analysts announced the start of a new arms race. “If you missed the Cold War, it looked a lot like right now, plus a Berlin Wall,” former Center for American Progress vice president Joe Cirincone wrote for Defense One.
NBC News anchor Megyn Kelly, who did a terrible interview with Putin last June, is on a reporting trip in Russia and got a few minutes with him to ask him about the ICBMs. In the interview, Putin dismissed claims that he’s declaring a new Cold War against the United States.
“My point of view is that individuals that have said that a new Cold War has started are not really analysts,” Putin told Kelly. “They do propaganda.”
“If you were to speak about an arms race, then an arms race started at the moment that the U.S. opted out of the anti-ballistic missile treaty,” Putin continued, referencing a move former President George W. Bush made in 2001 to withdraw the U.S. from an anti-ICBM treaty that had been in place with Russia and the Soviet Union going back to 1972.
Putin stressed, however, that the video was the real deal.
“Every single weapons system discussed today easily surpasses and avoids an anti-missile defense system,” Putin said. “Some of them still have to be fine-tuned and worked on, and others are already available to the troops and already are battle-ready...One of them is already on combat duty. It’s with troops.”