Russia Returns to Nuclear Saber Rattling with Sarmat Missile: In the same week that Russian President Vladimir Putin told reporters that he believes the war in Ukraine will end with some form of negotiation, like “all armed conflicts” do, the Russian president also confirmed that his military is preparing the world’s “most powerful” nuclear warhead.
Speaking on Wednesday to the Russian Defense Military Board, Putin confirmed that the RS-28 Sarmat “Satan II” intercontinental ballistic missile is being prepared for “combat duty for the first time.”
While the Russian leader did not confirm when he expects the missile to be fully ready, he did reveal that the weapons were being prepared as a countermeasure to what he perceives as NATO aggression.
“We are well aware of all the NATO forces and resources that they have been using against us over the course of the special military operation,” Putin said, adding that Russia is now preparing to ensure its nuclear weapons are combat-ready as part of his military’s effort to guarantee a victory in Ukraine.
“It is the main guarantee that our sovereignty and territorial integrity, strategic parity and the general balance of forces in the world are preserved,” Putin said.
Putin’s comments come less than a week after he sought the advice of his top military commanders, asking during a visit to the Joint Task Force headquarters about what can be done to ensure a Russian victory in Ukraine.
Following the meeting, the Russian president said that his military is learning from mistakes made in Ukraine, and insisted that the Kremlin will give his military “everything it asks for.”
“We have no funding restrictions. The country and the government are providing everything that the army asks for,” Putin said.
While the Satan II missile has been in development for some years, and the Kremlin has previously published propaganda videos designed to display the power of the missile, this week’s announcement could be interpreted as a pivot in Russia’s strategy in Ukraine.
In November, Russia’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement suggesting that a nuclear conflict must not be fought.
“We are strongly convinced that in the current complicated and turbulent situation, caused by irresponsible and impudent actions aimed at undermining our national security, the most immediate task is to avoid any military clash of nuclear powers,” a statement on the Foreign Ministry website reads.
This week’s announcement and Putin’s comments, however, could indicate a return to the nuclear saber-rattling that came months into the war in Ukraine.
It’s not the only indication, either. A propaganda arm of the Russian Ministry of Defense released a pop song this month titled “Son Of Satan,” which brags about the power of the Sarmat “Satan II” missile.
Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive’s Breaking News Editor.