Putin Shows Off New Weapons, and Warns U.S. and Europe, Too


President Vladimir V. Putin offered Russians a rosy picture of future prosperity and military might in his annual speech, delivered on Thursday in Moscow.Credit Maxim Shipenkov/European Pressphoto Agency

MOSCOW — President Vladimir V. Putin used his annual state of the nation speech on Thursday to threaten Western nations with a battery of new weapons including an intercontinental nuclear cruise missile and to assure Russians that their lives would improve through enormous new social spending.

The guns-and-butter speech came 17 days before the March 18 presidential election. It seemed intended to reassure ordinary Russians that a huge increase in social spending would help salve the economic problems of the past four years, while also evoking traditional fears that Russia could be invaded at any minute.

Gleb O. Pavlovsky, a political analyst and former Kremlin consultant, wrote on Facebook that, “From tales about progress, the speech flowed into an open-ended declaration of world war.”

Putin Shows Off New Weapons, and Warns U.S. and Europe, Too
Putin Shows Off New Weapons, and Warns U.S. and Europe, Too

In the last third of the speech, Mr. Putin used giant screens to introduce what he said were about half a dozen new weapons developed by Russia, telling Europe and the United States that he was prepared to use them and even traditional nuclear arms if Russia were attacked.

“We would consider any use of nuclear weapons against Russia or its allies to be a nuclear attack on our country,” Mr. Putin said. “The response would be immediate.”

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Mr. Putin said that Russia had tested various new nuclear weapons, including a nuclear-powered missile that could reach virtually anywhere in the world and that could not be intercepted by existing antiballistic missile systems.

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