Russia on Friday tested for the second time its new nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).
A video published by the Russian Ministry of Defense on Twitter shows the Sarmat missile, intended to replace the Soviet-era Veovoda launched from the spaceport of the Plesetsk cosmodrome. Friday’s test comes a few months after its first test, completed in late 2017.
Russian President Vladimir Putin first announced the new weapon, allegedly able to reach “anywhere in the world”, during his State of the Union address earlier this month.
Putin also said that Sarmat would make all US missile defense systems “useless”. Trump would have called Putin’s remarks “irresponsible” during a phone call with British Prime Minister Theresa May.
— Минобороны России (@mod_russia) March 30, 2018
The test follows a phone call between Putin and US President Donald Trump this month in which Trump proposed a summit to discuss what he described as the current “arms race”.
“I had a call with President Putin and congratulated him on his victory, his electoral victory,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office. “The call had to do with the fact that we will probably meet in the not too distant future so that we can discuss weapons, we can discuss the arms race.”
The launch of Sarmat also comes as tensions between the United States and Russia reach levels never seen since the cold war. More than 100 Russian diplomats from over 20 countries have been deported following the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter in Britain.
In the context of the evictions, the Trump administration expelled 60 diplomats from the United States in addition to closing the Russian consulate in Seattle. Russia has denied any involvement in the attack on its former spy.
The Russian Foreign Ministry announced Friday that it would give Britain a month to reduce the number of its diplomats in Moscow to the same level as the Russians in Britain.