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US to send hi-tech nuclear weapons to Nato bases amid rising tensions with Russia

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He accused Liz Truss of publicly threatening Russia with a nuclear attack when she was prime minister.

Mr Putin claimed the former Prime Minister had been ‘silly’ and was ‘a bit out of place’, adding: ‘Someone should have corrected her. Washington could have said they didn’t had nothing to do with it.”

In a lengthy speech, Mr Putin described the Ukraine crisis as part of “tectonic shifts in the world order that have been going on for several years now”.

He added: “We are facing a historic milestone. Ahead of us lies perhaps the most dangerous, unpredictable and at the same time crucial decade since the end of the Second World War.”

First defense review in four years

As Mr. Putin spoke, the United States released its long-awaited National Defense Strategy, the first in four years, and its Nuclear Posture Review.

The 80-page defense strategy says China is “the most important strategic competitor for decades to come,” and that will determine how the US military will be equipped and developed in the future.

There was also a strong warning for Kim Jong-un that his regime would “end” if he used a nuclear weapon.

He said: “There is no scenario in which the Kim regime could use nuclear weapons and survive.”

The review said US nuclear weapons were a deterrent not only against nuclear attacks, but also against conventional attacks.

“This includes nuclear employment of any magnitude, and this includes high-consequence attacks of a strategic nature that use non-nuclear means,” the document says.

He also confirmed the cancellation of a new submarine-launched cruise missile announced when Donald Trump was president.

Lloyd Austin, the US Secretary of Defense, said the United States already had sufficient nuclear capability.

He added: “I don’t think it [the cancellation] send any message to Putin. He understands what our capacity is.”

Mr Austin added: “We are certainly concerned about the escalation, we have been since the very beginning of this conflict. It would be the first time a nuclear weapon has been used in over 70 years.”

On Wednesday, Mr Putin attended the so-called “Grom” exercises of the Russian strategic nuclear forces, involving intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarines and long-range bombers.

Mr Austin said: “We haven’t seen anything to suggest, at this point, that [the exercise] is a kind of hedging business.”

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