Multiple tests of Russian nuclear-capable missiles have failed in an embarrassing blow to Vladimir Putin, Ukraine’s military intelligence says.
Some say Russia’s unsuccessful tests of its Yars and Bulava missiles may point to serious issues with Moscow’s nuclear delivery capabilities.
Ukraine’s military intelligence revealed on Saturday that Putin’s forces “conducted an unsuccessful test of the RS-24 Yars intercontinental ballistic missile, which is the main element of the ground-based component of the Russian strategic nuclear forces” on November 1.
It said the missile went “off course” as it had done previously during simulated exercises on October 25.
The Ukrainian military intelligence service claimed: “Similarly, the test launch of the RSM-56 Bulava ballistic missile from a… missile submarine on October 25, 2023, was unsuccessful, once again proving its insecurity.”
Russia has not confirmed that any of the missile tests failed and rather claimed the launches were successful. Ukraine’s allegations, which do not include how or where the rocket tests failed, come amid speculation Russia has deployed its giant Sarmat missile system with troops, despite only testing it once.
Known in the West as Satan-2, the “unstoppable 15,880mph intercontinental missile system is the size of a 14-storey tower block.
It replaces RS-20 Voyevoda but, according to Ukraine, is an “unfinished, imperfect” missile that “lacks any advantages in design, warhead, or methods of overcoming missile defenses”.
Meanwhile, delivery of new Tu-160M2 strategic bombers originally scheduled for this year is said by Kyiv to have been postponed due to Russia failing to resume production of a new version of the NK-32 engine.
Soviet military tactician and politician Viktor Alksnis earlier pointed to a video of Yars launching from northern Russia’s Plesetsk Cosmodrome and leaving a smoke trail as proof of its failure.
He suggested “a rocket explosion in the acceleration section of the flight path”. It comes just over a week since Russia launched a nuclear missile capable of a blast 100 times more powerful than Hiroshima in an apocalyptic attack drill on the West.
A Yars intercontinental ballistic missile was launched from the Plesetsk cosmodrome in the north of the country. The mock atomic attack included a nuclear submarine and two Tu-95MS strategic missile carriers.
A Sineva ballistic missile was also launched from the Barents Sea from the strategic nuclear-powered missile submarine cruiser Tula. Moscow is moving to revoke its ratification of a landmark nuclear testing treaty to bring itself into line with the United States.
“The tasks of delivering a massive nuclear strike by strategic offensive forces in response to an enemy’s nuclear strike will be practiced,” Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu reported to Putin.
While Russia taunts the West with its nuclear weapons, Putin is tipped to announce he will seek another term in the Kremlin. The president, 71, is expected to confirm he will stand for re-election at an exhibition titled “Russia” showcasing his achievements.
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