Vladimir Putin sent a stark warning to the West today as Russia tested a new intercontinental ballistic missile, which the President said will make the West “think twice”.
The Sarmat missile, which can hold more than 10 nuclear warheads at a time, can reportedly hit any target on earth and is set to be in service by the end of this year.
Addressing Russian soldiers today, Putin said: “This truly unique weapon will strengthen the combat potential of our armed forces, reliably ensure the security of Russia from external threats and make those who, in the heat of aggressive rhetoric, try to threaten our country, think twice.”
“It has no analogues in the world and won’t have for a long time to come.”
The Russian President has made similar nuclear threats throughout the war to warn Nato countries from intervening or assisting Ukraine.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the test was “not a surprise” and that the US had been alerted to the plans earlier.
The amped up rhetoric comes as Putin this week launched a new offensive in the East of Ukraine, which he hopes will see Russian troops take the entire Donbas region.
Moscow has been forced to adjust its key objective in the war to taking the Donbas – the site of an eight-year long war between Ukraine and Russian-backed separatists – after failing to achieve any major military objectives in the first two months of the invasion.
The South-East port city of Mariupol, which has been under siege by Russian shelling for more than six weeks, is continuing to hold out and remains in Ukrainian hands.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said: “The situation in Mariupol remains unchanged, extremely severe. The Russian army is blocking any efforts to organise humanitarian corridors and save our people.
“If we had access to all the weapons we need, which our partners have and which are comparable to the weapons used by the Russian Federation, we would have already ended this war. We would have restored peace and liberated our territory from the occupants.”