Putin: New ICBM Should Make Foes 'Think Twice'

Russia announces Sarmat passed its first test
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 20, 2022 3:00 PM CDT
Russia Says New ICBM Passed Test, Warns Other Nations
The new Sarmat intercontinental missile is shown at an undisclosed location in Russia in 2018.   (RU-RTR Russian Television via AP)

Russia has had the Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile since 2018. But it wasn't until Wednesday, after launching its offensive in eastern Ukraine, that Russia said the Sarmat had been successfully tested—an announcement packaged with a warning, the New York Times reports. Analysts and other nations have raised the possibility that Russia could pressure other countries to keep out of the fight by suggesting nuclear weapons might be deployed. "This truly unique weapon will force all who are trying to threaten our country in the heat of frenzied, aggressive rhetoric to think twice," President Vladimir Putin told Russians on TV.

Russia's defense ministry said the test of the nuclear-capable missile was successful. The missile was launched Wednesday afternoon from the Plesetsk State Test Cosmodrome in the Arkhangelsk region of northern Russia and landed in the "designated area in Kamchatka," at a test site in the far east some 3,500 miles away, per CNN. Putin said the Sarmat can evade "all modern means of anti-missile defense, adding, "It has no analogues in the world and won't have for a long time to come," per Reuters. US officials had no immediate comment.

The Sarmat evidently is not ready for use yet. Russian officials said the test was its first, adding that the missile would not be considered ready for deployment until "after the completion of the testing program." An analyst said it would replace the outdated SS-18 and SS-19 missiles. The new missile can carry at least 10 warheads and decoys and be sent over the North or South Pole, possibly a problem for tracking systems, including ground and satellite-based radar. "This complicates where you've got to look," said Douglas Barrie of the International Institute for Strategic Studies. (More Russian military stories.)

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