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International

Mattis, Pompeo dismiss Putin’s touting of Russian nuclear weapons

11:20, Monday, 12 March, 2018
Mattis, Pompeo dismiss Putin’s touting of Russian nuclear weapons

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent speech highlighting nuclear weapons that he claimed could be used to attack the United States was “disappointing but unsurprising” and does not alter the Pentagon’s strategic plan to counter Moscow, according to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.

Mattis, speaking late Saturday on a military plane en route from Washington, D.C., to the Middle East, said he saw no change in Russia’s military capabilities in Putin’s presentation, which showed cruise missiles that could strike U.S. cities. Regardless of “how much money they want to put into this arms race with themselves,” Mattis said, the U.S. approach remains the same.

“At the end of the day, they can sink all that money in and it does not change my strategic calculations,” he said of new Russian weapons. “I just assumed it all would happen.”

CIA Director Mike Pompeo shared a similar assessment on “Fox News Sunday,” saying in an interview that there were no surprises in what Putin touted.

“We are following and tracking all of this closely, as are our brothers at the Department of Defense,” Pompeo said. “Americans should rest assured that we have a very good understanding of the Russian program and how to make sure that Americans continue to be kept safe from threats from Vladimir Putin.”

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