Putin claims Russia has 'invincible' nukes with 'unlimited range'

Vladimir Putin is one-upping US President Donald Trump in the nuclear arms race.

In a speech outlining his key policies for a fourth presidential term, Mr Putin has revealed that Russia has developed a whole new array of nuclear weapons that are "invincible".

He says they can reach anywhere around the globe, and evade the United States' missile shield.

Mr Putin says the West needs to take note.

"They have not succeeded in holding Russia back. Now they need to take account of a new reality and understand that everything I have said today is not a bluff."

Mr Putin was speaking ahead of an election on March 18 that polls indicate he should win easily. He said a nuclear attack on any of Moscow's allies would be regarded as an attack on Russia itself and draw an immediate response.

It was unclear if he had a particular Russian ally, such as Syria, in mind, but his comments looked like a warning to Washington not to use tactical battlefield nuclear weapons.

Among the new weapons that Mr Putin said were either in development or ready: a new intercontinental ballistic missile "with a practically unlimited range" able to attack via the North and South Poles and bypass any missile defence systems.

Mr Putin also spoke of a small nuclear-powered engine that could be fitted to what he said were low-flying highly-manoeuvrable cruise missiles, giving them a practically unlimited range.

The new engine meant Russia was able to make a new type of weapon - nuclear missiles powered by nuclear rather than conventional fuel.

"Nothing like it in the world exists. At some point it will probably appear [elsewhere] but by that time our guys will have devised something else."

Other new super weapons he listed included underwater nuclear drones, a supersonic weapon and a laser weapon.

In one of his video clip demos, a weapon appeared to be hovering over what looked like a map of the state of Florida.

Mr Putin has often used militaristic rhetoric to mobilise support and buttress his narrative that Russia is under siege from the West. His 2014 annexation of Ukraine's Crimea boosted his ratings to a record high and he has cast his military intervention in Syria as a proud moment for Moscow.

On Thursday, he backed his rhetoric with video clips of some of the new missiles he was talking about, which were projected onto a giant screen behind him at the conference hall in central Moscow where he was addressing Russia's political elite.

Earlier this year, Mr Trump bragged of the size of his country's "nuclear button".

Reuters / Newshub.