Russian President Vladimir Putin has proudly declared that his country’s scientists have developed a new generation of nuclear weapons capable of bypassing any missile defense system. The new weapons detailed included a nuclear-powered, nuclear-armed cruise missile, an underwater drone, and a hypersonic missile. The news was delivered during Putin’s annual state of the nation speech to the Federal Assembly.

Putin said Russia was forced to create new weapons to respond to U.S. actions that deployed missile defenses on the territory of other countries, most likely referring to NATO’s defense systems in the former Warsaw Pact countries. He also said that the new weapons would make NATO’s U.S.-led missile defense system “useless”. Putin further declared that the Kremlin would respond accordingly to any nuclear attack on Russia or its allies.

Putin said the new cruise missiles were tested in the fall. During his speech, animated videos and graphics of the new weapons flashed across the large screen behind him. The news raised questions of whether the new Russian weapon would represent a threat to American security.

The claims drew a rebuke from the White House. The White House said that the comments were a vindication of President Trump’s intentions to modernize the U.S. nuclear arsenal. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, “President Putin has confirmed what the United States government has known all along, which Russia has denied — Russia has been developing destabilizing weapon systems for over a decade, in direct violations of its treaty obligations.”

Putin currently holds an 80 percent approval rating. His victory in this month’s presidential election is a foregone conclusion. The buildup to the vote has been met with very little excitement from the Russian public. Seven other candidates are competing in the presidential campaign, but none are considered to be real opposition to the Kremlin.

Some are questioning whether the new weapons actually exist. The United States and Russia have had the ability to overwhelm each other’s defenses with a massive nuclear strike aimed at multiple cities for decades. The main deterrent for those strikes has been the fact that such a strike would be met in kind while missiles were still in the air.