OAN’s Roy Francis
5:45 PM – Saturday, September 2, 2023
Russia has deployed its Sarmat intercontinental missiles that Russian President Vladimir Putin had previously said would make Russia’s enemies “think twice.”
According to the head of Russia’s Roscosmos space agency, Yuri Borisov, the Sarmat missiles have been placed on combat ready. However, further details were not given.
Nicknamed “Satan II” during its announcement in 2018 by Putin, the silo-based missile is capable of carrying at least 10 nuclear warheads, and is meant to replace the R-36 ICBMS. The Sarmat has a short initial launch phase, which allows little time for surveillance systems to be able to track it.
In April 2022, Russia had announced that it had managed to successfully launch the Sarmat. At the time Putin had said that the missile would show Russia’s enemies that they need to “think twice” before threatening his country.
According to Putin, the Sarmat would “reliably ensure the security of Russia from external threats and make those who, in the heat of aggressive rhetoric, try to threaten our country, think twice.”
Rebekah Koffler, president of Doctrine and Strategy Consulting, who had also previously worked as a Defense Intelligence Agency officer, told Fox News that the move by Putin is a message to the West.
“Putin is clearly strategic messaging to the United States and NATO that nuclear option in Ukraine remains on the table,” Koffler said, adding that Putin “placed Russia’s nuclear forces on a special combat regime shortly after he invaded Ukraine out of the fear that the US and NATO may intervene on behalf of Ukraine. So the fallback option is the so-called escalate to de-escalate strategy, which envisions a detonation of a tactical (small yield) nuclear warhead on the battlefield, to deter US/NATO intervention.”
Koffler went on to explain that Putin will not attack any NATO country “unless Russian intelligence concludes Russia is about to be attacked by NATO.”
She added that Putin knows that the Biden Administration “fears” an escalated direct confrontation with Russia, “so he plays up the nuclear card. It’s a conundrum for us.”
Dr. Matthew Kroenig, an expert on strategic competition with Russia and China at the Atlantic Council and a political science professor at Georgetown University, said that the fears of Russia using nuclear weapons was once a relic of the Cold War, however, several factors have brought back those fears as real military and diplomatic issues.
White House spokesperson John Kirby said that he could not confirm the new reports about the Sarmat. However, a U.S. official who spoke under the condition of anonymity said that the reports have not elevated U.S. fears of nuclear escalation, and that they appear to be low-level posturing.
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