By RFE RL
(RFE/RL) — Russia said on April 20 that it had conducted the first test-launch of its Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile, a new addition to its nuclear arsenal.
President Vladimir Putin was shown on television being told by military officials that the missile had been launched from Plesetsk in the northwest and hit targets on the Kamchatka Peninsula in the Far East.
The Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement that the Sarmat was fired from a silo launcher at 3:12 p.m. Moscow time and traveled about 6,000 kilometers to a test range on Kamchatka.
“Sarmat is the most powerful missile with the longest range of destruction of targets in the world, which will significantly increase the combat power of our country’s strategic nuclear forces,” the ministry statement said.
Putin claimed that the missile “is capable of overcoming all modern means of anti-missile defense.” He said it had no equal in the world “and won’t have for a long time to come.”
The missile 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.
The Sarmat has been under development for years and so the test is not a surprise for the West, but it comes with tensions high over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Russia properly notified Washington ahead of the test-launch, the Pentagon said, adding it saw the test as routine and not a threat to the United States.