Russian media says the launch of the Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile – known as Satan-2 – was carried out at the Plesetsk cosmodrome
Vladimir Putin has issued a chilling warning claiming Russia has successfully launched a huge intercontinental ballistic missile known as ‘Satan-2’.
The Russian president bragged that the new Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile would provide “food for thought” for anyone thinking of threatening Moscow.
He claimed no nation in the world is capable of stopping the newly-tested weapon, which experts believe is capable of firing more than 10 nuclear warheads at a time.
Russia’s ministry of defense says the weapon was launched at the Plesetsk cosmodrome in the northwest of the country, and successfully hit targets in the far east.
The missile was seen emerging amid huge rocket flames and smoke from an underground silo in a video released by Moscow.
Putin, who is being investigated for war crimes committed by his forces in Ukraine, reportedly claimed the missile would “strengthen the combat potential of our armed forces.”
It is said to be able to fly 6,000 miles and be capable of targeting an area the size of France, potentially killing millions.
Putin was shown on state TV being told by the military that the missile had been launched from Plesetsk and hit targets in the Kamchatka peninsula.
The Russian president said: “The new complex has the highest tactical and technical characteristics and is capable of overcoming all modern means of anti-missile defence.
“It has no analogues in the world and won’t have for a long time to come.
“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.”
He was seen in a video conference with defense minister Sergei Shoigu – who had been rumored to be sidelined.
Shoigu told the President: “Comrade Supreme Commander-in-Chief – preparations for the first flight test of the Sarmat missile system completed at the first state test cosmodrome in Arkhangelsk region.”
A military announcement said: “Today at 15:12 Moscow time, a successful launch of a stationary intercontinental ballistic missile Sarmat was conducted from the silo at the Plesetsk state test facility in the Arkhangelsk region.
“The objectives of the launch were fully achieved.
“The design and performance of the missile were tested.
“This launch is the first in the program of state tests. After the completion of the testing programme, the Sarmat missile system will be put into service of the Strategic Missile Forces,”
Professor Malcolm Chalmers from the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) previously told Reuters Sarmat was unlikely to make a big difference to Russia’s ICBM force due to its “already considerable destructive potential”.
However he said a single missile armed with 10 warheads could target areas as large as Texas or France, potentially killing millions of people.
Commenting on the destructive power of the weapon, Prof Chalmers said: “Claims that a large nuclear attack would kill every living being in the world are sometimes made as a result of wider climate-changing consequences, such as a nuclear winter.
“This should not be ruled out, but would at a minimum require hundreds of warheads, not a single missile.”
The missile has been under development for years and 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.
Russia has denied it plans to deploy nuclear weapons “at this stage” in its invasion of Ukraine.
Foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said yesterday: “At this stage, we are considering the option of conventional weapons only.”
The 15,880 mph weapon can deliver a MIRV warhead that weighs up to 10 tonnes at any point in the world flying over both the North and South Poles, say the Russians.
It has the capability to use trajectories and unpredictable routes which “substantially impede their destruction even by advanced missile defense systems”.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.