Still, Malcom Chalmers, a defense expert at the Royal United Services Institute, a defense and security think tank, said it wasn’t clear that Putin’s announcement actually represented new or novel Russian military capability.
“This is Putin emphasizing that his country’s new generation of missiles will be able to overcome any missile-defense systems,” he said. “Russia has been able to hit targets in the U.S. and around the world since the 1960s. We also need to view his words in the context of a Russian election this month. The topic has popular appeal.”
One of President Trump’s first acts in office was to order Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to conduct a “nuclear posture review.” Mattis’ report was published in February.
It concluded that the U.S. “now faces a more diverse and advanced nuclear-threat environment than ever before, with considerable dynamism in potential adversaries’ development and deployment programs for nuclear weapons and delivery systems.”