Russia test-fired an RS-28 Sarmat (NATO: Satan II) nuclear ICBM, a novel, super-heavy missile with incredibly destructive power and alleged unmatched maneuverable ability.
According to Russia, the Satan II has an incredibly short boost phase, which would make it difficult for land and sea-based AEGIS defenses to intercept in time. Though the U.S. has an AEGIS battery in Poland and Romania, as AEGIS cruisers in the Mediterranean, it is believed that a Satan II launch would give too little warning for an interception.
Additionally, Satan II is rumored to be capable of flying over the South Pole during its midcourse stage, avoiding NORAD defenses, including the U.S.’ new kill-vehicle defenses. Though the U.S. tends to keep its nuclear deterrence shrouded in mystery, both to avoid an escalation and an arms race, it may have defenses in place against a small-scale ICBM attack. However, it is widely believed that no declassified materiel in the U.S. arsenal could feasibly intercept even a single ICBM launch past its boost phase, particularly after releasing its warheads.
Despite this escalation, NATO allies have continued to pledge support and weapons, in stark contrast to earlier hesitancy over the need and risk of sending heavier weapons. Moreover, Finland and Sweden, both of which have been threatened with Russian nuclear deployments in the Baltics (Russia already has nukes in Kaliningrad, making this a moot point), have stressed their decision on NATO membership would not be affected by Russia’s nuclear warmongering.
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