Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that Russia will pay increased attention to strengthening its nuclear forces by deploying a long-delayed intercontinental ballistic missile, introducing hypersonic missiles and adding new nuclear submarines.
A year after ordering the invasion of Ukraine, Putin has signaled his willingness to destroy the nuclear weapons control structure—including the major powers’ halt to nuclear testing—unless the West backs down before Ukraine.
On Tuesday, Putin sought to underscore Russian resolve in Ukraine by suspending a landmark nuclear arms control treaty, announcing that new strategic systems would be deployed on combat missions, and warning that Moscow could resume nuclear testing.
In a speech marking Defender of the Fatherland Day, known in Soviet times as Red Army Day, Putin invoked the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany to say that Russia needed modern armed forces to ensure its sovereignty.
“As before, we will pay increased attention to strengthening the nuclear triad,” Putin said in a speech broadcast on state television, referring to land, sea and air nuclear missiles.
Putin, who sees the conflict in Ukraine as an existential struggle to defend Russia against what he sees as an authoritarian and aggressive West, said ICBMs based on Sarmat silos would be deployed this year.
Putin first announced the RS-28 Sarmat liquid-fueled missile, dubbed “Satan 2,” in 2018. The missiles were scheduled to be deployed last year.
CNN reported that the US believes Russia conducted a Sarmat test ahead of US President Joe Biden’s visit to Ukraine earlier this week, but that the test failed. The Russian Ministry of Defense did not comment on this report.
The 35-meter missile has a range of 18,000 kilometers and can carry at least 10 targetable vehicles – each with a nuclear warhead – which can each target a different target. It can also offer hypersonic Avangard vehicles.
In addition, Putin said, Russia will continue mass production of Kinzhal hypersonic air systems and begin a large supply of Zircon hypersonic missiles at sea.
“With the adoption of the Borey-A nuclear-powered submarine project, Emperor Alexander III, the share of modern weapons and equipment in the naval strategic nuclear forces will reach 100%,” Putin said.
“In the coming years, three more cruisers of this project will replenish the fleet’s combat power,” he said.
Emperor Alexander III was launched at the end of December. It is the seventh Borei-A-class submarine – each capable of carrying 16 Bulava-class submarine-launched ballistic missiles.
Putin also said that Russia will develop all parts of Russia’s conventional armed forces, improve training, add advanced equipment, boost the weapons industry, and upgrade combat-proven soldiers.
“The presence of a modern and efficient army and navy is a guarantee of the country’s security and sovereignty and a guarantee of its stable development and future,” Putin said.
Therefore, we will continue to prioritize strengthening our defense capability. »