Russia carried out an ICBM test on Monday while Joe Biden was in Ukraine, according to a report, but warned the United States ahead of time.
Several hours before Biden was due to arrive in kyiv, Moscow was told he would be there and warned not to attack the city during that time. The bold visit, designed to emphasize US support for Ukraine as the first anniversary approaches, was not publicized in advance.
But on Tuesday, two sources told CNN that Russia tested an intercontinental ballistic missile known as Satan II while the president was meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart.
Moscow warned Washington ahead of time, and US officials told CNN they did not view the launch as an escalation. Test launch failed.
Joe Biden is pictured Monday in kyiv alongside his Ukrainian counterpart Zelensky. The Russians were warned in advance that he was going to be there. They tested an ICBM while he was there, but they also warned Washington
An April 2022 Russian government photo showing the launch of ‘Satan II’, the SARMAT missile, from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in the Arkhangelsk region
A local resident living near the Plesetsk region took a picture of a trail hanging low in the sky, believed to be the remains of a failed missile launch.
The test of the SARMAT heavy missile, capable of launching multiple nuclear warheads, would have been highlighted by President Vladimir Putin in his State of the Union address on Tuesday, officials believe, had it been successful.
Putin has announced successful ICBM tests in the past, including in April, weeks after Russia invaded Ukraine.
That test was also for the SARMAT missile that was first unveiled in 2016.
The missile is said to have a range of more than 6,835 miles and can carry a warhead weighing 100 tons.
But US sources told CNN that the latest test appeared to have failed, with no further details on how or why it went wrong.
A photograph taken by local residents in Plesetsk, a notorious missile testing area, showed a low white trail in the sky that suggested the missile had missed in flight. – although the Russian defense ministry did not announce any launch or respond to requests for comment.
“There was a big loud bang, and it kept rumbling for a whole minute,” said a Plesetsk resident named Maksim.
I ran outside to take a look and didn’t see anything, but there was a trail very low in the sky.
‘I could even see it being carried away by the wind. And what worries me most is that there is no information from the Plesetsk cosmodrome.
He said that usually the rocket launches “fly over my house.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers his annual state of the nation address at the Gostiny Dvor conference center in central Moscow on February 21, 2023.
This image provided by the Russian Defense Ministry shows the moment a nuclear-capable Sarmat II missile is launched.
“Every time they launch it, the sound is so loud that our windows break. I always google release info, like I did this time. But this time there was nothing at all about it.
Another local resident, Sofia Danilova, said that she saw a similar trail on the same day over Arkhangelsk.
“I observed an almost identical train, but there was also a dark exhaust,” he said. “The trail and exhaust were much higher than what I see in this image.”
She didn’t hear a take off and said: ‘It certainly wasn’t a plane. We know how they fly and what they look like.
Russia has the world’s largest nuclear arsenal, inherited from the Soviet Union, and until the COVID pandemic was subject to constant inspections and controls by the US, which is a close second.
During his speech on Tuesday, Putin announced that he was withdrawing from the last remaining nuclear treaties, the New START Treaty.
Senior Biden administration officials have insisted that Putin’s move will not change the status quo because there have been no inspections since 2020.
Putin also said he would stick to the limit of 1,550 nuclear weapons per side and insisted he would not withdraw from the treaty.
But he made it clear that he wanted to get rid of arms control by arguing that the United States and the West want to inflict “strategic defeat” and “get on our nuclear facilities.”
The treaty expires in 2026 and could usher in a Cold War-like era, when nations could amass reserves capable of wiping out countries in seconds.
Vladimir Putin signaled the end of formal arms control between the world’s two biggest nuclear superpowers when he announced he would suspend Russia’s participation in the New Start treaty on Tuesday.
William Alberque, director of arms strategy, technology and control at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, told Reuters that “both sides could immediately go from 1,550 deployed strategic warheads to 4,000, that could happen overnight.”
Security analysts have also said this could end mutual deterrence and allow other superpowers such as China, India and Pakistan to develop their own arsenals.
Putin also claimed that US and NATO inspectors would pass on information about the nuclear sites to the Ukrainians in order to launch attacks.
“This is a theater of the absurd,” he said.
“We know that the West is directly involved in the kyiv regime’s attempts to attack the bases.”
As the United States awaits Russia’s next move, the Biden administration has time to formulate a response.
Republican Congressman Mike Rogers, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said it was “no surprise” that Putin had called off participation and called for a response.
He said the United States should deploy additional nuclear forces and speed up planning in case Putin breaches limits.