Vladimir Putin has warned Donald Trump that Russian missiles could hit the US in just five minutes if tensions escalate.
In a chilling message, the Russian president said he is not afraid to start a repeat of the Cuban Missile Crisis.
And Putin claimed his country has the edge if it launches a strike first.
In 1962 the Cuban Missile Crisis brought the world to the brink of nuclear war – and more than 50 years later relations between Russia and the US are strained as America may deploy intermediate-range nuclear missiles in Europe.
Putin has previously warned Moscow will match any US move by stationing its own missiles closer to the United States or by deploying faster missiles – or both.
And speaking to Russian journalists, he said his country could deploy hypersonic missiles on ships and submarines which could lurk outside US territorial waters.
He said: “(We’re talking about) naval delivery vehicles: submarines or surface ships.
“And we can put them, given the speed and range (of our missiles)… in neutral waters. Plus they are not stationary, they move and they will have to find them.”
And he continued: “You work it out. Mach nine (the speed of the missiles) and over 1,000 km (their range).”
The US State Department earlier dismissed Putin’s warning as propaganda.
Putin has said he does not want an arms race with the United States, but that he would have no choice but to act if Washington deployed new missiles in Europe.
Some of these missiles might be able to strike Moscow within 10 to 12 minutes.
Putin said his naval response to such a move would mean Russia could strike the United States faster than US missiles deployed in Europe could hit Moscow – because the flight time would be shorter.
“It (the calculation) would not be in their favour, at least as things stand today. That’s for sure.” said Putin.
Relations between Moscow and Washington were strained, he added, but the tensions were not comparable to those of the Cuban Missile Crisis.
“They (the tensions) are not a reason to ratchet up confrontation to the levels of the Cuban Missile Crisis in the 1960s.
“In any case that’s not what we want,” said Putin. “If someone wants that, well OK they are welcome. I have set out today what that would mean.
“Let them count (the missile flight times).”