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Russia said Wednesday it had test-launched its Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile, a new addition to its nuclear arsenal, which President Vladimir Putin said would give Moscow’s enemies something to think about.
Putin was shown on television being told by the military that the missile had been launched from Plesetsk in the country’s northwest and hit targets in the Kamchatka peninsula in the far east.
“The new complex has the highest tactical and technical characteristics and is capable of overcoming all modern means of anti-missile defense. It has no analogs in the world and won’t have for a long time to come,” Putin said.
“This truly unique weapon will strengthen the combat potential of our armed forces, reliably ensure Russia’s security from external threats and provide food for thought for those who, in the heat of frenzied aggressive rhetoric, try to threaten our country.”
The Sarmat – dubbed Satan 2 by Western analysts – is among Russia’s next-generation missiles that Putin has called “invincible,” including the Kinzhal and Avangard hypersonic missiles.
Russia is expected to deploy 10 or more warheads on each missile, according to the U.S. Congressional Research Service.
Last month, Russia said it used Kinzhal for the first time in warfare to strike a target in Ukraine, where Russian troops have been engaged in a special military operation since Feb. 24.
The Sarmat superheavy intercontinental ballistic missile is designed to elude anti-missile defense systems with a short initial boost phase, giving enemy surveillance systems a tiny window to track.
It has been under development for years, so its test launch is not a surprise for the West, but it comes at a moment of extreme geopolitical tension due to Russia’s war in Ukraine.