Missing weapons in Putin’s test suggests underlying issue

Russia’s latest large-scale nuclear strike “test” drill suspiciously didn’t involve one of President Vladimir Putin’s most powerful weapons.

The show of force was reportedly meant to show Russia’s ability to deliver a massive retaliatory nuclear strike. However, the newer Bulava and Sarmat missiles were not part of the drill on Thursday, according to Newsweek, and that fact has some speculating that it means the weapons “are not very reliable.”

A Yars intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) was directed to a test site in the far-eastern Kamchatka region of Russia. It was launched from the northwestern Plesetsk Cosmodrome, according to the Kremlin.

A nuclear-powered submarine in the Barents Sea was the originating site for the launch of a Sineva ballistic missile, while Tu-95MS long-range bombers fired air-launched cruise missiles in the test strikes.

“The nuclear strike drill came on the heels of a decision by Russia’s upper parliament to revoke ratification of the landmark Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, which prohibits ‘any nuclear weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosion’ anywhere in the world,” Newsweek reported.

In a statement, the Kremlin said that “practical launches of ballistic and cruise missiles took place during the training.”

“Training of strategic deterrent forces involves practicing the tasks of delivering a massive nuclear strike in response to an enemy nuclear strike,” according to Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.

“Comrade Supreme Commander-in-Chief, in accordance with the training plan for the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, under your leadership, training is being conducted to control the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, during which the tasks of delivering a massive nuclear strike by strategic offensive forces in response to an enemy nuclear strike will be practiced,” Shoigu said in his report to Putin.

According to Newsweek, “Russian military expert Yuri Fedorov told Agentstvo, a Russian investigative site launched in 2021, that the fact that Moscow once again tested its Yars and Sineva ballistic missiles, despite having the newer Bulava and Sarmat missiles in its arsenal, could suggest that the latter ‘are not very reliable.'”

“Apparently, they are afraid of misfires,” he said.

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