A new hypersonic intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), Sarmat, is a “breakthrough” for the Russian missile program, the country’s president Vladimir Putin said during an annual address to the Federal Assembly. The missile has entered an active testing phase.
The president added that Russia had begun working on ways to counter US anti-missile capabilities as early as 2004 – but that Washington had ignored warnings.
“You will listen to us now,” Putin said.
Capable of carrying a wide range of nuclear weapons, the Sarmat system has virtually no range limit and will be able to attack across both the South and North Poles, Putin said.
— RT (@RT_com) 1 March 2018
He further added that if Russia is attacked with nuclear weapons, it would not hesitate to respond in kind.
“We are greatly concerned by some parts of the new nuclear posture, which reduces the benchmark for the use of nuclear weapons. Whatever soothing words one may try to use behind closed doors, we can read what was written. And it says that these weapons can be used in response to a conventional attack or even a cyber-threat,” he said.
“It is my duty to state this: Any use of nuclear weapons against Russia or its allies, be it small-scale, medium-scale or any other scale, will be treated as a nuclear attack on our country. The response will be instant and with all the relevant consequences.“