US responds after Putin unveils 16,000mph ‘Satan 2’ rocket capable of obliterating London

Ukraine: Vladimir Putin launches missile in warning

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The Pentagon downplayed the threat of Putin’s newly unveiled nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile, also known as the “Sarmat”. Spokesman John Kirby said in a press briefing: “Testing is routine, and it was not a surprise.” He added that the US “has not deemed the test to be a threat to the United States or its allies”.

This is despite the fact the weapon, dubbed “Satan 2” by NATO, is said to be capable of firing multiple nuclear warheads all at once at staggering speeds.

Mr Kirby said Moscow “properly notified” Washington of the test due to the obligations under the 2011 New START treaty.

This was a pact placing limits on nuclear proliferation that was signed between the two countries.

But Putin was still keen to display the might of the newly unveiled weapon, which has been in development since the early 2000s.

He said: “The new complex has the highest tactical and technical characteristics and is capable of overcoming all modern means of anti-missile defence.

“It has no analogues in the world and won’t have for a long time to come.”

And he warned that he might not be shy to use it against the West.

Putin went on: “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.”

The weapon is also reportedly so powerful that it could target huge areas far bigger than London, capable of hitting targets the size of France or Texas.

The Russian Defence Ministry said in a statement the test “successfully” launched from the Plesetsk cosmodrome in northern Russia.

The Ministry said: “Sarmat is the most powerful missile with the longest range of destruction of targets in the world, which will significantly increase the combat power of our country’s strategic nuclear forces.”

Despite these warnings, Prof Malcolm Chalmers from the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) previously told Reuters that the Sarmat would be unlikely to intimidate the West as the ICBM simply adds to an existing arsenal with an “already considerable destructive potential”.

That being said, he did note that the potential for the missile to strike huge target areas could result in millions of deaths if it ever got fired.

The Sarmat is a strategic missile system with a heavy-class liquid-propellant ICBM, the weight of one such missile exceeds 200 tonnes.

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It is reportedly 35.3 metres long and three metres in diameter referred to as a heavy ICBM capable of carrying a 10-ton payload.

According to Russian state media, the Sarmat can carry up to 10 large warheads and 16 smaller ones and is capable of hitting a target anywhere on Earth.

It has also claimed the weapon can soar at a speed of 16,000mph, and is expected to go into service with the Strategic Missile Forces.

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