The Russian state-owned news agency Tass ran reports Thursday on the purported effectiveness of the Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM)—known in the West by its NATO code name “Satan 2″—a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a nuclear threat to the West over the invasion of Ukraine.
Vladimir Degtyar, the CEO of the JSC Makeyev Design Bureau, which created the missile, told Tass in an interview that the weapon “has no equals in the world.”
In another report published Thursday, Tass said Degtyar told the news agency that the missile “will leave its silo under any conditions and fulfill its task with 100 percent certainty.”
Tass wrote: “The missile is unique in terms of its unsurpassed speed, record-breaking range, the highest accuracy and complete invulnerability while penetrating anti-missile defense systems.”
The agency added that “the RS-28 Sarmat ICBM is capable of delivering a MIRV of up to 10 tonnes to any point on the globe.” MIRV stands for multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle.
In 2019, Russian officials said that the RS-28 Sarmat ICBM would complete its testing phase by 2020, and the missile’s first launch took place in April, Tass reported. The missile was originally supposed to have been operational by 2016.
State media’s reporting on the weapon came just after Putin gave a speech in which he said he was willing to respond to what he called the West’s “nuclear blackmail” with his own weapons.
“If Russia feels its territorial integrity is threatened, we will use all defense methods at our disposal, and this is not a bluff,” Putin said.
Reuters reported that former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who serves as deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council, made similar remarks on Thursday, and said nuclear weapons could be used to defend territories in Ukraine occupied by Russia.
“The Donbas (Donetsk and Luhansk) republics and other territories will be accepted into Russia,” Medvedev said, according to the news outlet. “Russia has announced that not only mobilization capabilities, but also any Russian weapons, including strategic nuclear weapons and weapons based on new principles, could be used for such protection.”
Speaking to the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday, President Joe Biden responded to Putin’s threat: “The United States is ready to pursue critical arms control measures. A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought,” Biden said in his address.
Newsweek has reached out to the Russian and Ukrainian defense ministries for comment.
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