Russia tests new Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile in what Putin hails as ‘truly unique weapon’

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Russia’s Defense Ministry announced Wednesday that it has conducted the first test launch of its new Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile – a nuclear weapon that President Vladimir Putin says will “provide food for thought for those who… try to threaten our country.” 

The ministry said the missile was launched Wednesday from the Plesetsk launch facility in northern Russia and its practice warheads hit designated targets at the Kura firing range on the far eastern Kamchatka Peninsula. 

“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,” Putin said, according to Reuters. 

The Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile is launched during a test at Plesetsk cosmodrome in Arkhangelsk region, Russia, in this still image taken from a video released on Wednesday.

The Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile is launched during a test at Plesetsk cosmodrome in Arkhangelsk region, Russia, in this still image taken from a video released on Wednesday.
(Russian Defence Ministry/Handout via REUTERS)

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The Sarmat is a heavy missile, intended to replace the Soviet-made Voyevoda missile which was code-named Satan by the West.  

Putin and his officials said it’s capable of penetrating any prospective missile defense. 

“It has no analogues in the world and won’t have for a long time to come,” Reuters quoted him as saying. 

Putin and his officials claim the missile is capable of penetrating any prospective missile defense. 

Putin and his officials claim the missile is capable of penetrating any prospective missile defense. 
(Russian Defence Ministry/Handout via REUTERS)

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Putin also called Wednesday’s reported launch “a big, significant event” for Russia’s defense industry. 

Russia relies on land-based ICBMs as the core of its nuclear deterrent and is counting on the Sarmat for decades to come. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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