Russia to deploy Sarmat nuclear missiles this year, says Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin. [File Photo]

This year, the first launchers of the Sarmat missile system will be put on combat duty, President of Russia Vladimir Putin said in a video released by the Kremlin on Thursday to mark the first anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion of neighbouring Ukraine.

The RS-28 Sarmat liquid-fuelled missile – dubbed Satan 2 by Western analysts – was first announced by Putin in 2018 and was supposed to have been deployed last year.

According to CNN, the US believes Russia tested the Sarmat just before US President Joe Biden toured Ukraine earlier this week, but the test was unsuccessful.

The 18,000km-range rocket, which Putin claims will make Russia’s enemies “think twice,” is 35 metres (115 feet) long (11,185 miles). Some people believe it to be higher. It has the capacity to transport ten or more multiple targetable re-entry vehicles, each of which carries a nuclear warhead and can be directed at a separate target. Additionally, it is capable of delivering hypersonic Avangard glide vehicles, which fly in an unpredictable pattern to trick missile defences and journey farther and faster.

Earlier this week, Moscow suspended its participation in the New START treaty — the last remaining nuclear arms control pact with the United States.

This comes amid the rising tensions between the two nations over Ukraine- Russia conflict.

Russia should stand ready to resume nuclear weapons tests if the US does so, a move that would end a global ban on nuclear weapons tests in place since Cold War times, international news agency AP reported quoting Putin saying in his address.

Putin also accused the US and its NATO allies of openly declaring the goal of Russia’s defeat in Ukraine.

“They want to inflict a ‘strategic defeat’ on us and try to get to our nuclear facilities at the same time,” Putin said as per AP report, declaring his decision to suspend Russia’s participation in the treaty.

He added, “In this context, I have to declare today that Russia is suspending its participation in the Treaty on Strategic Offensive Arms.”

The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) was signed on April 8, 2010, in Prague by the United States and Russia and entered into force on February 5, 2011.

New START replaced the 1991 START I treaty, which expired in December 2009, and superseded the 2002 Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (SORT), which terminated when New START entered into force.

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