Russian President Vladimir Putin has threatened this week that Moscow would deploy its newest intercontinental ballistic missile, dubbed 'Satan-2' by NATO, by the end of the year.
Satan-2 to be 'put on combat duty by the end of this year'
On Tuesday 21 June, Putin hosted military academy graduates at a ceremony at the Kremlin. He said, as reported by New York Post:
We will continue to develop and strengthen our armed forces, taking into account potential military threats and risks.
He described Russian troops in Ukraine as fighting 'with courage, professionalism: like real heroes.' He added:
There is no doubt we will be even stronger.
Putin said about the 14-story-tall intercontinental ballistic missiles, which are officially known in Russia as 'RS-28 Sarmat':
The Sarmat heavy intercontinental ballistic missile was successfully tested. It is planned that by the end of this year, the first such complex will be put on combat duty.
Capable of reaching the UK in three minutes
The threat comes after the Kremlin announced in April its first test of the ballistic missile. Satan-2 was first introduced in 2018 and has an estimated range of 18,000 kilometres (11,000 miles), as reported by The Telegraph. This means, as experts warn, that it could be used against the UK, Europe, and the US.
It is capable of carrying 10-15 nuclear warheads and decoys, which it can deliver at hypersonic speed while evading most radar and missile defence systems. It is allegedly able to reach the UK in three minutes, according to The Independent.
In May, Russia’s defence committee deputy chairman, Aleksey Zhuravlyov, warned that it could use the nuclear missile to target Britain in just '200 seconds.' The threat came after Finland announced it wished to join Nato. He said:
We can hit with a Sarmat from Siberia, and even reach the UK. And if we strike from Kaliningrad... the hypersonic's reaching time is 200 seconds – so go ahead, guys.
Also last month, a Russian state TV host and Putin propagandist warned that Britain could be 'plunged into the depths of the sea' by an underwater nuclear strike.