On Thursday, President Vladimir Putin vowed to reinforce Russia’s nuclear capabilities. Putin also said Russia would deploy its new intercontinental ballistic missile, expand its fleet of nuclear submarines, and deploy hypersonic missiles into its arsenal.
With fighting persisting in Eastern Europe and tensions between Russia and the West increasing, Putin indicated he is prepared to dissolve existing nuclear arms control agreements. In an earlier address to the Federal Assembly on February 21, Putin stated that Moscow has no intention to continue honoring existing nuclear arms treaties, declaring a suspension.
Putin went as far as to say Russia would resume nuclear testing if the West did not stop interfering in Ukraine.
“They want to deal us a strategic defeat and are meddling with our nuclear facilities. In this context, I have to declare today that Russia is suspending its participation in the Treaty on Strategic Offensive Arms,” Putin said during the address, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Putin harkened back to the Soviet era during his address. Putin drew parallels between today’s fighting in Ukraine and that sustained by the USSR in its victory over Nazi Germany during World War II.
“As before, we will pay increased attention to strengthening the nuclear triad,” Putin said in a television address about nuclear arms stationed on the land, sea, and in the air, according to Yahoo News.
Putin highlighted the RS-28 Sarmat liquid-fueled missile during the address. Nicknamed “Satan 2” by the West, the delayed missile is expected to be deployed later this year after Putin first announced it in 2018.
Putin used the address to reinforce his narrative that the conflict in Ukraine is an existential fight to defend Russia against an encroaching West.
According to CNN, Russia carried out a failed intercontinental ballistic missile test around the time that President Biden was visiting President Zelenskyy in Kyiv. The test’s failure may be why Putin failed to mention the event during his address to the country.
Russia’s Sarmat missile is large at 35 meters in length and can reach targets over 11,000 miles away. It can carry a minimum of 10 multiple targetable re-entry vehicles. Each of these nuclear-armed vehicles can be directed at unique locations.
The Sarmat can also fire Russia’s Avangard weapon. The Avangard is a hypersonic vehicle capable of traveling even further and faster than the Sarmat itself. The Avangard can take unpredictable paths during flight, helping them outmaneuver missile defense systems.
During the address, Putin said Russian production of the Kinzhal systems would continue. The Kh-47M2 Kinzhal is an air-launched hypersonic missile. Traditionally, the weapon is deployed from Russia’s MiG-31K warplanes.
Putin also addressed upgrades to the country’s submarine capabilities and planned improvements to its conventional armed forces.
“A modern, efficient army and navy are a guarantee of the country’s security and sovereignty, a guarantee of its stable development and its future,” Putin said.