- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Russian president Vladimir Putin now has a little “devil” on his shoulder that is capable of destroying a geographic area the size of France — the RS-28 Sarmat “Satan 2” rocket.

Images of Makeyev Rocket Design Bureau’s RS-28 Sarmat were released online for the first time Wednesday. The weapon was commissioned in 2010, although details on its capabilities were reported by Russian state media over the summer.

“If its military abilities are real, which is what everybody expects, it’s quite a formidable weapon. A very formidable weapon. It can hit any target on any side of the United States, for instance,” CNN’s senior international correspondent Matthew Chance said from Moscow on Wednesday.

“It’s powerful enough to destroy a country — a single missile — the size of France. It can carry up to 15 warheads. It can evade missile defenses quite effectively as well. It’s a pretty awesome sort of missile, but hopefully it won’t ever be used.”

Russia’s new weapon comes six years after President Obama signed the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) with then-president Dmitry Medvedev. Russia has used the time since signing the document to increase the number of delivery vehicles for nuclear warheads.

The “Satan 2” has a range of nearly 7,000 miles, can carry up to 15 warheadsand weighs 100 tons.

“The real political value of this is that it shows that Russia is still a nuclear superpower, that it can still compete, and that it has parity with the United States when it comes to nuclear weapons. I think that’s its main importance,” Mr. Chance added.

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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