In this year’s televised state of the nation speech to Russia’s Federal Assembly on Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin boasted that his scientists had developed a newly designed intercontinental ballistic missile that could render current missile defense technology, including that of the United States, effectively worthless, NBC News reported.
Putin’s speech included video presentation of how the new ICBM would work. The video showed computer-generated footage of one of the missiles flying around the world and heading to Florida. This demonstration was followed by thunderous applause from those in attendance.
In contrast to this obvious jab at the United States, Putin assured attendees that “Russia’s strong military is a guarantor of peace on our planet.”
The new missile, called the Sarmat, would replace the older Soviet R-36M2 Voevoda missiles, currently in Russia’s arsenal.
“Voevoda had a range of 11,000 kilometers.” Putin said (via a translator) after the video ended. “With Sarmat, with the new system, there is no range limitation.”
At another point in the speech he ominously declared “Nobody listened to us. Well listen to us now."
While he did not give a timeline for when the missiles would be fully ready, he said that some had already been tested.
The state of the nation address lasted nearly two hours and covered “everything from health care to the annual grain harvest,” according to an NBC summary of the speech. NBC also added that Putin “highlighted included supersonic missiles and drone submarines that he said cannot be stopped.”
According to The Guardian, this speech generally lasts about one hour.
It’s only 17 days until the Russian elections, in which Putin is expected to win yet another term in a landslide. He’s currently polling at 70 percent – at least according to the news outlet TASS, which his government runs. Not taking any chances, Putin has further secured his future electoral victory by barring opposition leader Alexei Navalny from being included on the ballot.
Putin has been in power since 2000, pushing through changes to the Russian Constitution to allow himself to run well beyond two terms. Putin has given this speech to the Federal Assembly every year since he was first elected, except during the four years between his second and third terms when he was prime minister and not president.