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Russia says it has successfully tested advanced hypersonic missile

Russian Aerospace Forces conduct a training
Russian Aerospace Forces conduct a training launch of Kinzhal hypersonic missile

In an annual address to the Russian Parliament, Putin said Russia had developed a new, nuclear-capable cruise missile with "unlimited" range that is able to elude air defense systems. He also said Russia had developed an "invincible" missile that can deliver a warhead at hypersonic speed.

"Russia still has the greatest nuclear potential in the world, but nobody listened to us," said Putin. "Listen now."

Talking to reporters while en route to Oman on Sunday, US Defense Secretary James Mattis expressed skepticism at Russia's claims of having developed such high-tech missiles, saying such technology is "still years away."

"I saw no change to the Russian military capability, and each of these systems he (Putin) is talking about that are still years away, I did not see them changing the military balance," said Mattis. "They did not impact any need on our side for a change in our deterrent posture."

While Putin may have been boasting about Russia's resurgent military might in order to bolster his image as a strong leader at home and on the global stage, Mattis said the show of force is still against Russia's own interests.

"Let me talk about the end state. How many years away they are, how much money they want to put into this arms race that they are creating with themselves," said Mattis.
"At the end of the day, they can sink all that money in; it does not change my strategic calculation," he said. "I just assumed it would all happen at great expense to the Russian people. It does not change anything."

A US official with knowledge of the latest Russian military assessment also expressed doubt to news that the weapons Putin described were even close to being operational. If Russia ever attacked the United States, it would be met with overwhelming force, said the source.
US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said department officials watched Putin's address and the weapons presentation, which featured an animation of a nuclear strike against the United States.

"That's certainly something that we did not enjoy watching," she said. "We don't regard that as the behavior of a responsible international player."

Russia's Defense Ministry has launched a web page seeking the public's help with naming its new arsenal.

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