- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The Kremlin has pushed back against U.S. media reports that Russia’s new “invincible” nuclear-powered cruise missile had unlimited range but only flew 22 miles during its most successful test.

“Listen to Russian President Vladimir Putin and trust him,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in Moscow on Tuesday, according to the Tass Russian state news agency.

In March during his State of the Nation address, Mr. Putin announced Russia was developing a range of “invincible” advanced nuclear weapons, including a hypersonic missile, in response to what he called Washington’s withdrawal from the long-standing ABM Treaty between the U.S. and Russia.

Mr. Putin’s saber-rattling speech stoked fears that he was attempting to unleash a Cold War-style arms race and included a computer animations showing warheads raining down on Florida.

But on Tuesday, CNBC reported, that the new generation of cruise missiles he announced, which were reportedly designed to overcome America’s missile defense systems in NATO countries, have thus far failed every test flight.

Citing unnamed U.S. intelligence sources, between November and February the new cruise missile was tested four times but each test resulted in a crash.

According to CNBC, U.S. officials assessed that the longest test flight lasted more than two minutes, with the missile flying 22 miles before losing control. The shortest test lasted four seconds and flew for five miles.

Although the new cruise missile has faltered, CNBC quoted U.S.officials as saying Russia’s new hypersonic warhead designed to penetrate the U.S. defense shield remains on track to be operational by 2020.

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