The Latest: White House: US defense capability ‘2nd to none’

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on Russia’s claim of an array of new nuclear weapons (all times local):

3:20 p.m.

The White House says U.S. defense capabilities “are and will remain second to none” as it responds to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s boasts about developing a new array of nuclear weapons.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders says Putin “has confirmed what the United States government has known all along”: that Russia has been developing “destabilizing weapons systems for over a decade in direct violations of its treaty obligations.”

She says President Donald Trump understands the threats facing America and says that America is “moving forward to modernize our nuclear arsenal and ensure our capabilities are unmatched.”

Putin claims that Moscow has tested weapons that cannot be intercepted and would make NATO’s missile defense “useless.”


3:10 p.m.

The United States says Russia acted irresponsibly by boasting of new nuclear weapons that President Vladimir Putin says are impervious to U.S. defenses.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert says it was “unfortunate” to watch a video animation depicting “a nuclear attack on the United States” that accompanied Russian President Vladimir Putin’s state-of-the-nation speech Thursday. She’s calling the video “cheesy” and says that “we don’t think it’s responsible.”

Nauert says the animation confirms that Russia has been creating destabilizing weapons systems for more than a decade in “direct violation” of its treaty obligations. She says the U.S. has long known that but that Russia had previously denied it.


12:35 p.m.

Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White says the Defense Department isn’t surprised by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s claims of new nuclear weapons. She says the U.S. military is prepared to defend the nation.

Putin said that Russia has tested an array of new strategic nuclear weapons that can’t be intercepted and would make NATO’s missile defense “useless.” He said the weapons include a nuclear-powered cruise missile, a nuclear-powered underwater drone and new hypersonic missile that have no equivalent elsewhere in the world.

White told Pentagon reporters that America’s missile defense has never been about Russia.

The U.S. has consistently argued that missile defense systems in Europe are not aimed at Moscow, but instead designed to defend against threats from Iran, North Korea and rogue threats.

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