How deadly is Russia's nuke-capable 'Satan 2' Sarmat missile? All you need to know
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday (April 20) that Russia has successfully tested the intercontinental ballistic missile.
He said the weapon capable of carrying nuclear charges will make Kremlin's enemies "think twice."
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Russia tests nuke-capable ICBM
Disclaimer: A number of claims and counterclaims are being made on the Ukraine-Russia conflict on the ground and online. While WION takes utmost care to accurately report this developing news story, we cannot independently verify the authenticity of all statements, photos and videos.
On President Vladimir Putin's orders, Russia started the invasion of Ukraine on February 24 this year and caused a tectonic shift in the geopolitical dynamics.
The United States and other Western allies slapped Russia with multiple sanctions, leaving the economy in dire straits. Several multinational companies stopped doing business or pulled out from Russia citing the humanitarian crisis in war-torn Ukraine.
Despite stiff Ukraine's resistance against Russian troops, several times Moscow has claimed that its aim to "demilitarise" the neighbouring country is going as per plan.
Amid nuclear threats, Putin issued a warning as he announced the test launch of its nuclear-capable Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) system on Wednesday (April 20).
The Sarmat superheavy intercontinental ballistic missile is designed to elude anti-missile defence systems with a short initial boost phase, giving enemy surveillance systems a tiny window to track.
Weighing more than 200 tonnes and able to transport multiple warheads, Putin says the missile can hit any target on Earth.
It's been under development since 2009 and various tests had been done since 2016. It has been understood that it is intended to replace the R-36M ICBM (SS-18 'Satan') in Russia's arsenal.
Earlier, this year, some media reports claimed that Russia unveiled a nuclear weapon called "Satan 2" amid the invasion of Ukraine, which appears to be untrue as per a factcheck by Lead Stories.
Speaking on Russian television, Putin as quoted by news agency AFP told the army: "I congratulate you on the successful launch of the Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile."
"This truly unique weapon will strengthen the combat potential of our armed forces, reliably ensure the security of Russia from external threats and make those who, in the heat of aggressive rhetoric, try to threaten our country, think twice," he added.
Western analysts have dubbed the Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) as 'Satan 2'.
It is among Russia's next-generation missiles that Putin has called "invincible," and which also include the Kinzhal and Avangard hypersonic missiles.
Russia's defence ministry said in a statement the most recent test "successfully" took place at the Plesetsk cosmodrome in northern Russia. According to the ministry, the missile delivered training warheads to the Kura test range of the Kamchatka peninsula, in Russia's Far East.
"Sarmat is the most powerful missile with the longest range of destruction of targets in the world, which will significantly increase the combat power of our country's strategic nuclear forces," the ministry said.
Tass quoted Dmitry Rogozin, head of the Roscosmos space agency, as saying that Russia's nuclear forces will start taking delivery of the new missile "in the autumn of this year" once testing is complete.
Sarmat can fly 16,000mph
It weighs more than 200 tonnes. Russia has claimed that Sarmat can reach an unmatched 16,000mph and can deploy 10 or more warheads on each missile. The long-range missile has been in development since the 2000s.
With Sarmat, Russia has the option of firing it over either of the Earth's poles. It is deemed a major challenge to the ground and satellite-based radar and tracking systems.
The Pentagon does not see the see it as a threat to the US and its allies. Moscow "properly notified" Washington of the test following its obligations under the 2011 New START treaty, which placed limits on the two countries' nuclear weapons, said Department of Defense Spokesman John Kirby.
"Testing is routine, and it was not a surprise," Kirby told reporters.
The Pentagon "has not deemed the test to be a threat to the United States or its allies," he told reporters.
"Of course, the department remains focused on Russia's unlawful and unprovoked aggression against Ukraine," Kirby added.
Disclaimer: This article has been amended to reflect the fact that Satan 2 is not a new missile. It has been in development since 2009 and tests had been done since then, including in 2016.