During an address to lawmakers at Russia’s Federal Assembly on Thursday, Putin showcased an array of new nuclear weapons that can’t be shot down by anti-missile systems. And in a video, these missiles were shown descending on Tampa Bay, the headquarters of the U.S. Central Command.
One intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) built by Kremlin engineers, the RS-28 Sarmat, is said to be so powerful that it could level an area the size of France or Texas, reports The Daily Star. NATO calls it "Satan 2."
— Daily Star (@Daily_Star) March 1, 2018
Putin said to Russian lawmakers that he hopes this display of power will "sober up any potential aggressor," adding, "You will listen to us now." This comes at the heels of the March 18 presidential election.
"It was certainly unfortunate to have watched the video animation that depicted a nuclear attack on the United States," State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said to the press. "We don't regard that as the behavior of a responsible international player."
NATO called Putin’s threat "unacceptable" and "counterproductive," according to ABC News.
Trump fails to respond, tweets about "Alex" Baldwin and the steel industry
The Pentagon spoke about Putin's display on Thursday, assuring, "We've been watching Russia for a long time. We're not surprised. These weapons that are discussed have been in development a very long time."
Trump, however, has not addressed the matter as of this morning.
Instead, he’s tweeted about a number of things, including a post about the "dying mediocre career" of Alec Baldwin — whom he incorrectly referred to as "Alex" at first. This was in response to a Hollywood Reporter interview that quotes Baldwin as saying his Trump role on SNL is "agony." (He spelled "dying" wrong as well in the original tweet.)
Alec Baldwin, whose dying mediocre career was saved by his terrible impersonation of me on SNL, now says playing me was agony. Alec, it was agony for those who were forced to watch. Bring back Darrell Hammond, funnier and a far greater talent!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 2, 2018
And now the original tweet:
Trump has also posted about the U.S. steel industry.
We must protect our country and our workers. Our steel industry is in bad shape. IF YOU DON’T HAVE STEEL, YOU DON’T HAVE A COUNTRY!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 2, 2018
Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a briefing Thursday, "President Putin has confirmed what the United States government has known all along, which Russia has denied: Russia has been developing destabilizing weapons systems for over a decade in direct violations of its treaty obligations." But still no Trump.
Michael McFaul, the U.S. ambassador to Moscow during the Obama administration, tweeted, "A Kremlin leader announced today several new nuclear weapon systems designed to attack America in novel, scary ways, and our commander in chief (unless I missed it?) did not say one word in response. Amazing."
So a Kremlin leader announced today several new nuclear weapon systems designed to attack America in novel, scary ways, and our commander in chief (unless I missed it?) did not say one word in response. Amazing.— Michael McFaul (@McFaul) March 2, 2018
Steven Pifer, a former State Department Foreign Service officer who worked with Russia and Ukraine, tweeted that though Putin "discussed some worrisome new weapons," his speech was "first and foremost" aimed at the Russian public in anticipation of the upcoming election.
Not saying we should discount all that Putin said on nukes. He discussed some worrisome new weapons that would not be captured by New START or INF Treaties (if those treaties remain in force). But this speech was aimed first & foremost at #Russian public.— Steven Pifer (@steven_pifer) March 1, 2018
At the conclusion of Thursday's address, Putin said Russia is not planning on using these missiles, but he did declare that they will view "any use of nuclear weapons against Russia or its allies, be it of small, medium or any force, as a nuclear attack on our country."
"Our response will be immediate," he stated. "Nobody should have any doubts about that."
Reuters contributed to this report.