Russia: Putin confrms Sarmat missile tests are 'successful'
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The “Satan-II” intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) is capable of carrying 10 or more nuclear warheads and can hit targets in the US and Europe. The news comes as a Russian MP warned Boris Johnson that the UK was now a “prime target” for Moscow given London’s unwavering military and political support for Kyiv. The Russian ICBM was successfully tested last week after years of delay and comes at a time when fears about a possible nuclear conflict are on the rise.
Dmitry Rogozin told Russian state TV that the Sarmat missiles would be based in the Siberian town of Uzhur, in the Krasnoyarsk region, about 3,000 kilometres (1,864 miles) east of Moscow.
They would be deployed no later than the autumn and would be placed in the same silos as the Soviet-era Voyevoda missiles they are to replace.
The head of Russia’s space agency claimed the “super-weapon” was an historic event that would guarantee the security of Russia’s children and grandchildren for the next 30-40 years.
Mr Rogozin boasted about the power and range of the Kremlin’s latest addition to its atomic armoury.
He said: “This is a missile that is much more powerful than other strategic weapons, including the Minuteman-III missile, which is in service with the United States.
“Both in terms of global reach and the power of warheads that can be delivered to the territory of an aggressor.”
The Roskosmos head added: “This is a huge success for our designers and engineers. We are very proud.”
The Sarmat ICBM was developed at the Makeyev State Rocket Centre and is manufactured by the Krasmash enterprise.
It can travel at speeds of up to 16,000mph and deploy multiple warheads at hypersonic speed, making it very difficult to intercept.
The Sarmat will also be able to launch the Avangard, Russia’s first hypersonic missile, which can travel at the top of the Earth’s atmosphere at more than ten times the speed of sound.
The Russian President has made repeated veiled threats to use nuclear weapons throughout his military campaign in Ukraine.
Putin put Russia’s nuclear forces on high alert days after the invasion began.
At the time, the Kremlin cited “Western countries…taking unfriendly actions” through economic sanctions and “aggressive statements against our country.”
The Kremlin’s increased use of nuclear blackmail has caused growing consternation among Western leaders and policy makers.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres last month said: “The prospect of nuclear conflict, once unthinkable, is now back within the realm of possibility.”
Security experts also believe that Russia’s belligerent nuclear rhetoric will fuel another nuclear arms race, as countries rush to bolster their military defences.
Fiona Hill, a British-born Russia expert and former White House intelligence adviser, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that countries such as Japan and South Korea will be “really rethinking your non-nuclear posture and your reliance on the United States.”
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She said: “So the whole idea of non-proliferation is basically out the window because it is basically very clear that the reason we are not going after Russia with everything that we’ve got is because they’ve got a nuclear weapon and he is saying he’s prepared to use one.
“And everyone is looking at this now and thinking, ‘right, well if I want to have my way with my neighbour, I need a nuclear weapon’ – that’s basically what Putin is telling us.
“And conversely, everyone is thinking, ‘if I’m going to have a good defensive posture, I can’t rely on someone else coming to my assistance, I need a nuclear weapon’.
“So we are in a whole new territory that we haven’t even been in during the Cold War, and so this requires really robust diplomacy.”
Earlier this weekend, a Russian lawmaker warned the UK it was now firmly in Moscow’s nuclear crosshairs as a result of its military support for Ukraine.
The MP said: “Great Britain is a prime target for that (nuclear strike). It is an island nation, which would minimise the damage to the continent.”
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