According to AFP, Russia successfully test-launched an “advanced” intercontinental ballistic missile just weeks after suspending participation in its last remaining nuclear arms control pact with the US.
The Russian defence ministry stated that a combat crew launched an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) from its Kapustin Yar test site on Tuesday using a mobile ground-based missile system.
The missile’s training warhead hit a mock target at the Sary-Shagan training ground (Republic of Kazakhstan) with precision.
Since last year’s deployment of soldiers into Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin has thinly veiled warnings that he will use nuclear weapons in case of an attack on Russia.
New START deal
Putin said in late February that Russia would withdraw from the New START deal, under which Russia and the United States committed to restrict nuclear stockpiles and submit to mutual inspections, according to AFP.
Less than three weeks ago, Putin declared that he will deploy tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, bringing the nukes to the European Union’s doorstep.
Both moves drew condemnation from NATO.
While the Russian defence ministry did not specify the type of missile used in Tuesday’s launch, it said the exercise’s purpose “was to test advanced combat equipment of intercontinental ballistic missiles”.
It added, “This launch made it possible to confirm the correctness of the circuit design and technical solutions used in the development of new strategic missile systems.”
Following concerns that the weapon had failed a recent test, Putin stated in February that a new type of ICBM will be deployed this year.
The Sarmat, called “Satan 2” by Western commentators, is capable of carrying multiple nuclear warheads and is one of Putin’s “invincible” next-generation missiles, reported AFP.