Russia’s military conducted an intercontinental ballistic missile test last Wednesday, and President Vladimir Putin warned the launch would “provide food for thought for those who … try to threaten our country.”
The new Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile was launched towards designated targets at the Kura firing range on the far eastern Kamchatka Peninsula from the Plesetsk launch facility in northern Russia, according to the Defense Ministry said.
“This truly unique weapon 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.
Russia did appropriately notify the United States ahead of the test on Wednesday, according to Pentagon spokesman John Kirby.
“Russia properly notified the United States under its new START treaty obligations of a plan to test this ICBM,” Kirby told reporters. “Such testing is routine. And it was not a surprise, not deemed the test to be a threat to the United States or its allies.”
A senior U.S. defense official called Putin’s rhetoric “unhelpful,” and not the language “that we would expect from a responsible nuclear power, especially in the current environment.”
The United States postponed its own intercontinental ballistic missile test launch which was originally scheduled for March 2, as part of a continued effort to de-escalate the situation in Ukraine.
Putin added that the missile “has the highest tactical and technical characteristics and is capable of overcoming all modern means of anti-missile defense. It has no analogs in the world and won’t have for a long time to come.”
Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24. Putin had already put Russia’s nuclear forces on high alert, along with a warning that any meddling from the West would lead “to such consequences that you have never encountered in your history.”