In the nuclear arms race, the big powers compete to be first. Russia is currently ahead of the United States with the development of new strategic weapons, reported French magazine Challenges.
A few days after an explosion on a military base in the north of the country, the Kremlin said that “our president has repeated that Russian technology far exceeds the level of the one reached by other countries at the moment, and this is unique”.
These comments are in response to those of Donald Trump, who said on Twitter that the United States “have learned a lot about the explosion of a defective missile in Russia” after the incident with a missile liquid-propellant engine at a military test site near Severodvinsk in the Arkhangelsk Region.
The American leader mentioned the “Skyfall explosion” – in reference to the missile development programme of the same name – and said that his country had “a similar but more advanced technology”.
The United States is learning much from the failed missile explosion in Russia. We have similar, though more advanced, technology. The Russian “Skyfall” explosion has people worried about the air around the facility, and far beyond. Not good!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 12, 2019
Trump’s statements that were soon nuanced by the American expert Joe Cirincione, who said on Twitter that the US had “no nuclear-powered cruise missile programme”.
“We tried to develop one in the 1960s, but it was too delusional, too infeasible, too cruel even for those years of Cold War nuclear madness,” he added, qualifying the research as supposedly redundant.
Vladimir Putin said in 2018 that his country had developed invincible nuclear weapons, including nuclear-powered missiles. Many American experts believe that the explosion that occurred on Thursday August 8, in the Far North is probably related to tests of the nuclear-powered cruise missile that Russia calls 9M370 Bourevestnik.
Russian authorities are simply saying that they are working on “new weapons” and would not elaborate.
However, the presidential spokesman Dmitri Peskov noted: “Over the past year, US officials, including military representatives, have made several statements indicating that such research programs [for the development of missile weapons] were ongoing in the United States,” the Kremlin spokesman said.
“Of course, it would be strange, if a country, a world power that spends more than all the other countries of the world on defense would not deal with such projects,” Peskov noted.
Last year Russia successfully tested an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) which NATO has dubbed “Satan 2”, the country’s military said.
The RS-28 Sarmat blasted off from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in its northern Arkhangelsk province, close to the Arctic Circle in 2018.
Intended to replace Soviet-era missiles that form the basis of its nuclear deterrent, Russia has been working to develop a new ICBM to replace the Voyevoda. That missile can carry up to 10 nuclear warheads, the Associated Press reported.
“No kind of, not even future missile defense systems will offer any trouble to the Russian rocket complex, Sarmat,” Putin had noted in his state of the nation speech at the time.
He added that Sarmat was also more powerful than “Satan”.