Putin says Russia will respond to US missile shield by deploying new strike weapons

President Vladimir Putin says that Russia will counter NATO's U.S.-led missile defense program by deploying new strike weapons capable of piercing the shield.

Putin told defense officials Tuesday that by developing defenses against ballistic missiles Washington aims to "neutralize" Russia's strategic nuclear deterrent and gain a "decisive military superiority."

He said that Moscow will respond by developing "strike systems capable of penetrating any missile defenses." He said that Russian arms makers already have built and tested prospective weapons systems, which have entered combat duty this year.

Putin added that in the future Russia may also work on the development of its own missile defense systems.

Russia's relations with the U.S. and its NATO allies have plunged to the lowest point since the Cold War over the crisis in Ukraine.