- A recent Russian test launch of its Sarmat missile appears to have failed, two US officials told CNN.
- Had it worked, Vladimir Putin would likely have highlighted it in his Tuesday address, they said.
- But Putin didn’t mention the Sarmat launch in his annual speech, his first since invading Ukraine.
Russian President Vladimir Putin likely planned to boast about a nuclear-missile test in his Tuesday State of the Nation address, but the launch failed, CNN reported, citing two US officials.
The Kremlin tipped off the US in advance about the planned test launch using deconfliction channels, one of the unnamed officials told the outlet.
But the test of Russia’s Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile — which has been successfully test-launched in the past — appears to have failed this time, the officials said, per CNN.
Had this latest launch been successful, Putin would have spotlighted it in his Tuesday speech, the two officials believe, CNN said.
Putin did not mention the launch in his annual State of the Nation address. But he did drop a bombshell by announcing that Russia would suspend participation in a nuclear-arms-control treaty with the US.
The treaty is the last major such agreement between the US and Russia, and limits the number of nuclear warheads that either nation can have.
Putin said the suspension did not mean Russia was outright withdrawing from the deal, but was nonetheless a major rupture in what little US-Russia cooperation still exists after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Nuclear experts say the move has endangered the treaty, and likely means Russia will communicate less with the US on the movements of its nuclear forces or weapons exercises.
Russia’s most recent notable test launch of the Sarmat missile was in April, just after its invasion of Ukraine began.
The Sarmat is a liquid-fueled ICBM nicknamed “Satan II” or the “Son of Satan,” and can carry multiple nuclear payloads with a range of over 6,835 miles.
Jeffrey Lewis, a nonproliferation professor at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey, California, told Insider after the April launch that the Sarmat is a weapon akin to a “Cold War throwback.”