Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced his regime’s latest nuclear-capable missile will be deployed as early as this autumn, saying it will ‘force those who try to threaten Russia to think twice’.
The Sarmat missile, or ‘Satan II’, is said to be the world’s longest-range intercontinental ballistic missile, capable of striking a target 11,200 miles away – meaning it could easily strike targets in the US and Europe.
Putin hailed the development of the missile, which was successfully test-fired earlier this week, ‘a big, significant event’ for Russia’s defense industry, saying the Sarmat will ‘ensure Russia’s security from external threats and make those who try to threaten our country with aggressive rhetoric think twice.’
‘The missile can break through all modern anti-missile defences,’ he declared.
‘There is nothing like this anywhere in the world, and won’t be for a long time.’
Western military experts said the Sarmat is capable of carrying 10 or more nuclear warheads and decoys – easily enough to wipe out territories the size of Britain or France in a single strike.
However, analysts believe the autumn target revealed by Putin and Dmitry Rogozin, head of the Roscosmos space agency, is an ambitious one because Moscow reported its first test-launch only on Wednesday and more tests will be needed before the missile can be deployed.
This week’s test, after years of delays due to funding and technical issues, marks a show of strength by Russia at a time when the war in Ukraine has sent tensions with the US and its allies soaring to their highest levels since the 1962 Cuban missile crisis.
Rogozin said in an interview with Russian state TV that the missiles would be deployed with a unit in Uzhur, in the Krasnoyarsk region, about 3,000 km (1,860 miles) east of Moscow.
He said they would be placed at the same sites and in the same silos as the Soviet-era Voyevoda missiles they are replacing, something that would save ‘colossal resources and time’.
The launch of the ‘super-weapon’ was an historic event that would guarantee the security of Russia’s children and grandchildren for the next 30-40 years, Rogozin added.