Putin says Sarmat nuclear missile to be deployed this year

Publish: 5:50 PM, February 23, 2023 | Update: 5:50 PM, February 23, 2023

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday the new Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile will be deployed this year following US reports that the weapon failed a recent test.

The Sarmat — dubbed Satan 2 by Western analysts — is capable of carrying multiple nuclear warheads and is among Russia’s next-generation missiles that Putin has described as “invincible”.

“We pay special attention, as before, to strengthening the nuclear triad. This year, the first launchers of the Sarmat missile system will be put on combat duty,” he said in a video released by the Kremlin to mark the “Defender of the Fatherland Day” in Russia.

The address also comes a day before the first anniversary of Russia’s military campaign in neighbouring Ukraine.

CNN has cited two anonymous US officials as saying the Sarmat appears to have failed a test this week.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Wednesday declined to comment on the report, saying it was “the prerogative of the defence ministry”.

Putin has said the heavy Sarmat missile can hit any target on Earth and will make the Kremlin’s enemies “think twice”.

During a state of the nation address on Tuesday, Putin said Russia will be suspending its participation in the New START treaty, the last remaining nuclear arms pact with Washington.

But Moscow later said it would still comply with the treaty until it expires in early 2026.