"We're not surprised by the statements and the American people should rest assured that we are fully prepared. These weapons that have been discussed [by Russia] have been in development a very long time. Our Nuclear Posture Review takes all of this into account," Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said, speaking about Putin's annual state-of-the-nation address, during which he showcased Russia's brand new missiles and other weapons.
The Russian president, however, has repeatedly stressed during his speech that all the work on Russia's defense capability has been conducted according to international agreements, and does not violate any deals. Putin emphasized that the country "was not threatening and had no intention of attacking anyone".
According to him, in late 2017, Russia successfully tested a completely new type of armament "unmatched in the world" — a nuclear-powered SARMAT missile system. The new weapons, equipped with nuclear warheads, would be invulnerable to interception as its capabilities allow it to bypass any missile defense.
Russian Operation in Syria
The spokesperson went on by speaking about Russia's activities in Syria.
"Russia's efforts to preserve their own interest in Syria puts coalition progress at risk and undermines international security. We do not seek a conflict with the Syrian regime, but we call on Russia to restrain Assad regime, deconflict counterterrorism operations with the coalition and deescalate the remaining battlefields of the Syrian civil war," White said.
Speaking on the number of military bases that are set up in Syria on the territory controlled by the Kurds, the spokesperson Eric Pahon noted, that due to operational security concerns, US does not "discuss, divulge the specific number and disposition of our troops in Syria."
"We position the appropriate number and type of forces in the right place at the optimal time to ensure we accomplish our primary mission: the lasting defeat of Daesh," he said.
Earlier in the day, Russia's Security Council official Alexander Venediktov said Pentagon has located nearly 20 military bases in the Kurdish-held area in Syria, while Russia has two bases in Tartus and Hmeymim alongside with the center for Syrian reconciliation.
The Russian military operation in Syria was launched in September 2015, upon an official request by the Syrian government for military aid against rebel and jihadist groups. Russia′s goals were helping the Syrian government to retake territory from various terrorist groups, as well as to create the conditions for a political compromise among different anti-government militias fighting on the ground.
In December 2017, Vladimir Putin announced that he had ordered the partial withdrawal of the forces deployed to Syria, and the major part of the troops has returned to Russia.