Putin views launch of new submarine to carry nuclear drones

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Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu during a visit a shipyard in St. Petersburg, Russia, Tuesday, April 23, 2019. Putin said the government will pursue an ambitious navy modernization effort. (Alexei Druzhinin, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin has watched the launch of a new submarine intended to carry prospective underwater nuclear drones — a doomsday weapon capable of causing a devastating tsunami.

During Tuesday's visit to a military shipyard in St. Petersburg, Putin viewed the departure of the Belgorod nuclear submarine at the Sevmash plant in Severodvinsk in northwestern Russia via a teleconference.

The navy said the submarine designed to carry Poseidon drones is set to enter service next year.

Poseidon can target coastal areas with a heavy nuclear weapon, causing a devastating tsunami wave. Putin has said its tests have been successful.

He first mentioned the nuclear-powered drone among an array of other new weapons in a state-of-the nation address last year, saying they would render U.S. missile defense systems useless.