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Russia Deploys Sarmat ICBM for Combat Duty

The RS-28 Sarmat ICBM. Russian Defense Ministry / TASS

A strategic next-generation missile that Russian President Vladimir Putin once described as “invincible” has been deployed for combat duty, the head of state space agency Roscosmos said Friday.

The Kremlin had previously stated that the Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile would be ready for combat duty by the end of 2022, according to the state-run RIA Novosti news agency.

But the deadline passed, and in June, Putin said that the new missile system would be deployed for combat duty “soon,” without naming a specific date.

Roscosmos general director Yuri Borisov said Friday that “the Sarmat strategic complex has been put on combat duty,” as quoted by RIA Novosti.

In April 2022, Moscow said it had successfully tested the Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile, which is capable of carrying nuclear charges.

Putin, who has made veiled nuclear threats to Kyiv’s Western allies throughout the war in Ukraine, claimed at the time that the weapon would make Russia’s enemies “think twice.”

Russia tested one of its Sarmat warheads during a visit to Ukraine by U.S. President Joe Biden in February 2023, but the test was apparently unsuccessful.

The RS-28 Sarmat — dubbed Satan 2 by Western analysts — is among Russia's next-generation missiles unveiled by Putin in 2018 which also include the Kinzhal and Avangard hypersonic missiles.

Weighing in at more than 200 tons and able to transport multiple warheads, Sarmat is designed to elude anti-missile defense systems with a short initial boost phase, giving enemy surveillance systems a narrow window to track it down.

AFP contributed reporting.

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