Russian President Vladimir Putin has vowed to deploy the world’s most powerful nuclear weapon in the “near future.”
During comments made while speaking to military graduates, he said the most important goal for the Russian military’s dealings with Ukraine and NATO is development of the nuclear triad, which he claimed will guarantee Russia’s military safety.
“Almost half our Strategic Missile Force units are equipped with the newest Yars complexes. Troops are being re-equipped with modern missile systems with the Avangard hypersonic warhead,” he said. “In the nearest future the first launch pads of Sarmat with a new heavy missile will be put on combat duty. The arsenals of the aviation and naval components of the strategic nuclear forces are being replenished.”
Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu told the graduates that the “collective West” was waging a “real war” against their nation.
The Sarmat, nicknamed “Satan 2” by western analysts, is a 116-foot-long, nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile able to carry 15 separate warheads.
It can also fire a payload with a yield of 50 megatons, which would be 4,000 times more powerful than the atomic bomb that destroyed the Japanese city of Hiroshima in 1945, which immediately killed 80,000 people, with tens of thousands dying later from radiation exposure.
Putin’s latest comments come amid recent actions signaling a stronger nuclear posture by Russia.
Last month, Moscow finalized a deal to deploy Russian tactical nuclear weapons in neighboring Belarus, which shares 700 miles of border with Ukraine.
“Amid a sharp exacerbation of threats on the western borders of Russia and Belarus, a decision on countermeasures in the military-nuclear sphere was made,” Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said regarding the deployment.
Two days before Putin’s threat to deploy the “Satan 2” missile, U.S. President Joe Biden warned that the threat of Putin using tactical nuclear weapons is real. Biden also called Russia’s movement of tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus “totally irresponsible.”
Should Putin follow through with the ICBM deployment, it will likely raise fears over the prospect of nuclear war as Western officials refuse to back down from challenging Moscow over its conflict with Ukraine.
Last year, Western governments began planning to prevent chaos and panic in the event that Russia were to detonate a nuclear weapon in or near Ukraine.