Diversification of the U.S. nuclear capacity is to deter Russia's nuclear activities, the Pentagon said Thursday, adding that the U.S. is ready to defend itself at any time.
"We need to ensure that our nuclear stockpile stays a credible nuclear deterrent. That's the key," Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White told reporters. "We are prepared to defend this nation no matter what."
White's remarks came after Russian President Vladimir Putin on the same day, announced that they are building advanced nuclear weapons that will significantly boost the Kremlin's military capabilities.
According to Putin, the weapons include a nuclear-powered cruise missile, a nuclear-powered underwater drone and a new hypersonic missile.
"Now they need to take account of a new reality and understand that everything I have said today is not a bluff," the Russian president said, claiming that the nuclear-powered cruise missile was tested last year and boosts not only a "practically unlimited range" but also advanced maneuverability and speed.
"No one in the world has anything like that," he added. "It may appear someday, but by that time we will develop something new."
In response to Putin's announcement, White said the U.S. has been watching Russia and the Pentagon is not surprised.
Turning to a question about the U.S. missile defense system, she noted that missile defense has never been about Russia unlike the nuclear developments.
"Our stance has never been, they know very well that it's not about them, our missile defense has never been about them," White added.
"We need to ensure we have a credible nuclear deterrent and we are confident and are prepared to defend the nation no matter what."
Additionally, the White House said the Russian president “has confirmed what the United States government has known all along, which Russia has denied.
“Russia has been developing destabilizing weapons systems for over a decade in direct violations of its treaty obligations,” spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters.
“America is moving forward to modernize our nuclear arsenal and ensure our capabilities are unmatched.”