Russia deploys Satan II intercontinental ballistic missiles, Putin says it will make world ‘think twice’ before combat
Russia has deployed the Satan II intercontinental ballistic missiles and placed them into active service. A move President Vladimir Putin says will make world think twice before combat.
“The Sarmat strategic complex has been put on combat duty,” reported Roscosmos general director Yuri Borisov, as per Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency, cited by the Moscow Times.
Putin introduced the Sarmat, also known as “Satan II,” back in 2018. This ballistic missile system has the capability to carry at least 10 nuclear warheads and is designed to replace the R-36 ICBMs, also known as Satan by NATO.
Putin’s Nuclear Message: A Strategic Warning
Rebekah Koffler, president of Doctrine & Strategy Consulting and a former Defense Intelligence Agency officer, explained Putin’s strategic message.
She highlighted Putin’s decision to place Russia’s nuclear forces on alert post-Ukraine invasion due to U.S. and NATO concerns. This action represents an “escalate to de-escalate” strategy, where a nuclear warhead might deter U.S. or NATO intervention.
Koffler clarified that Sarmat is a “strategic weapon, reserved for strategic targets, like the United States,” and Putin wouldn’t attack the U.S. mainland with nuclear weapons unless Russia detected signs of an impending U.S. attack.
After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022, Putin asserted that Sarmat would guarantee Russia’s security and make those who threatened the country think twice.
Koffler noted that Russian media outlets, publishing an article translated into Russian, claimed Sarmat could destroy London in six minutes. This seems to be a deterrence message aimed at the UK, a staunch supporter of Ukraine.
However, Koffler emphasized that Putin’s objective is not to attack London or any NATO nation unless Russia’s intelligence suggests an impending NATO attack.
She expressed concerns about “unintended escalation,” where a mistaken authorization for a kinetic strike, due to flawed intelligence assessments, could lead to a conflict spiraling out of control. The longer the Russia-Ukraine conflict persists, the greater the risk of a direct war between Russia and the U.S.
Koffler added that Putin understands Washington’s fear of such a war and uses the nuclear card as leverage. This situation poses a complex challenge for the U.S.
On Friday, White House’s John Kirby couldn’t confirm Russian reports, expressing concern about the situation.