Putin says new Russian intercontinental ballistic missile would make enemies think

Putin says new Russian intercontinental ballistic missile would make enemies think

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that a new nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile would make Moscow's enemies stop and think in a show of strength two months into its attack on Ukraine.

Putin was shown on TV being told by the military that the long-awaited Sarmat missile had been launched for the first time from Plesetsk in northwest Russia and hit targets in the Kamchatka peninsula, nearly 6,000 km 3,700 miles away.

The test of the Sarmat, under development for years, did not surprise the West, but came at a moment of extreme geopolitical tension. Russia has yet to capture any major cities since it sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine on February 24.

Ukraine's defense ministry was not immediately available for comment.

The new complex has the highest tactical and technical characteristics and is capable of overcoming all modern means of anti-missile defense. Putin said that it has no analogue in the world and won't have for a long time to come.

This unique weapon will strengthen the combat potential of our armed forces, ensure Russia s security from external threats and provide food for thought for those who try to threaten our country in the heat of frenzied aggressive rhetoric. Announcing the invasion eight weeks ago, Putin made a pointed reference to Russia's nuclear forces and warned the West that any attempt to get in its way will lead to such consequences that you have never encountered in your history. He ordered Russia's nuclear forces to be put on high alert days later. The possibility of nuclear conflict, once unthinkable, is now back within the realm of possibility, according to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres last month.

Russia s defense ministry said on Wednesday that the Sarmat was fired from a silo launcher at 15: 12 Moscow time 12: 12 GMT Russia s nuclear forces will start taking delivery of the new missile in the autumn of this year once testing is complete, according to Dmitry Rogozin, head of the Roscosmos space agency.

Jack Watling of the RUSI think-tank in London said that there was an element of posturing and symbolism involved, less than three weeks before the annual Victory Day parade in Russia.

The Russians wanted to have something to show as a technological achievement in the lead-up to Victory Day, but the timing of the test shows that a lot of their technology has not delivered the results they would like, Watling said.

Douglas Barrie, senior fellow for military aerospace at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, said the launch was an important milestone after years of delays caused by funding issues and design challenges.

He said more tests would be needed before Russia could deploy it in place of the ageing SS 18 and SS 19 missiles that were well past their sell-by date. Barrie said the Sarmat's ability to carry 10 or more warheads and decoys and Russia's option of firing it over either of the Earth's poles posed a challenge to ground and satellite-based radar and tracking systems.

Igor Korotchenko, editor-in-chief of Russia's National Defense magazine, told RIA news agency that Moscow was capable of putting an end to the history of any country that has encroached on the security of Russia and its people. Ukraine has mounted stiff resistance, and the West has imposed sweeping sanctions to try to force Russia to withdraw forces Moscow says are on a special operation to degrade its southern neighbor's military capabilities and root out people it calls dangerous nationalists.