According to the Kremlin, two ballistic missiles were launched: one from the Plesetsk launch site in far eastern Russia, and the other from a submarine in the Barents Sea. Tu-95MS long-range bombers also participated in the exercises.
Just hours before the maneuvers, the Federation Council, Russia’s upper house, gave the green light to withdraw ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, which bans all nuclear testing. The resolution will now go to Putin for signature, who has already indicated his approval of the move.
Moscow points out that a number of other nuclear-armed countries, including the United States and China, signed the treaty but never ratified it. As a result, the treaty never entered into force.
Despite the withdrawal of certification, it appears that Russia does not plan to resume its nuclear testing at this time. Moscow hinted that it would not do so unless the United States conducted new nuclear tests.
Nuclear muscle width
The strategic forces maneuvers are part of Russia’s recent display of nuclear power. Russian nationalist politicians regularly threaten to use nuclear weapons against the West. At the same time, the authorities have repeatedly reported on tests of new missiles of the Russian nuclear arsenal.
Earlier this month, Putin said Russia had successfully tested the Boyerevestnik missile, a new nuclear-powered cruise missile that can also carry a nuclear warhead. Thanks to nuclear propulsion, a cruise missile can remain in the air for a long time before reaching its target.
Another experiment with the Boerevestnik (Stormbird) is said to have ended in an explosion four years ago, releasing nuclear material and killing five scientists.
Russian authorities also recently announced that the new Sarmat super-heavy ballistic missile, which Russia has been working on since 2013, is close to entering service. According to Russian analysts, the introduction of the missile, which can carry ten nuclear warheads, will significantly change the nuclear balance in the world.
However, Western specialists doubt whether the Sarmat missile is ready to replace the Vojevoda missile, the Russians’ older ICBM. According to them, the last test of the missile failed at the beginning of this year.
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