Vladimir Putin
Russia will develop nuclear weapons, but not use it Picture: Russian President Vladimir PutinReuters

Russia will continue to develop nuclear weapons but will not use the weapons, said President Vladimir Putin in a documentary called "World order", which was aired on Russian state television on Sunday night, according to Associated Press.

"Russia as a leading nuclear country will be improving this weapon as a containment factor; the nuclear triad is the basis of our nuclear security policies," Putin said.

He was referring to the three main delivery systems for nuclear warheads as bombers, intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBMs) and submarine-launched ICBMs.

"We have never brandished or will brandish this nuclear club, but our military doctrines allocate it a place and role," Putin said, as reported by Associated Press.

Russia reportedly possesses around 8,500 nuclear warheads, of which 1,800 are strategically operational. The exact number of nuclear weapons owned by a country is different from the declared numbers. In addition, Russia also declared 39,967 tons of chemical weapon way back in 1997, but 57% of these has been destroyed, according to reports.

Last month, the Russian president said he would counter NATO's US-led missile defence programme. Putin said he would deploy new strike weapons that would be capable of piercing the shield, according to CBS News.

In March this year, Russia had "considered" the nuclear option over Crimea.

"Over the past three years, companies of the military-industrial complex have created and successfully tested a number of prospective weapons systems that are capable of performing combat missions in a layered defence system. Such systems have already begun to enter the military this year, and now we are talking about development of new types of weapons," Putin was quoted as saying by CBS News.

NATO and Putin have publicly sparred in recent years over Russia's nuclear-deterrent capabilities.