Putin tests new 'Satan II' ballistic missile which Russia claims can hit anywhere on Earth

20 April 2022, 16:45 | Updated: 20 April 2022, 17:36

Russia has launched a Satan 2 missile
Russia has launched a Satan 2 missile. Picture: Russian ministry of defence/Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

Russia has launched a Satan 2 missile capable of firing 12 warheads at once, Vladimir Putin has claimed.

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The first test was launched on Wednesday, following threats from Putin over nuclear weapons being used in response to the West's involvement in the war.

It has raised concerns that conflict in Ukraine could escalate further in coming days.

Putin said the Sarmat missile would provide "food for thought for those who try to threaten Russia".

He was shown on TV being briefed about the weapon, with the military saying it had been launched from the northwest of Russia and hit targets in the Kamchatka peninsula in the far east.

In the briefing, Putin told his army: "I congratulate you on the successful launch of the Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile. 

"This truly unique weapon will strengthen the combat potential of our armed forces, 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."

Read more: Inside Mariupol’s last stronghold: Commander pleas as troops 'outnumbered ten to one'

Read more: Workers who stayed behind at Ukraine zoo to help animals 'shot dead by Russians'

Russia successfully launches intercontinental ballistic missile

Putin added: "The new complex has the highest tactical and technical characteristics and is capable of overcoming all modern means of anti-missile defence.

"It has no analogues in the world and won't have for a long time to come.

"This truly unique weapon will strengthen the combat potential of our armed forces, reliably ensure Russia's security from external threats and provide food for thought for those who, in the heat of frenzied aggressive rhetoric, try to threaten our country."

According to the Interfax news agency, the Russian defence ministry said: "The launch's objectives were fully attained.

"The planned performance specifications were confirmed throughout all phases of the flight."

It added that a regiment of Russia's Strategic Missile Forces was being prepared to be armed with the missile.

Mariupol: Steel plant where people are reportedly sheltering seen on fire from airstrike

Meanwhile, Ukrainian soldiers in Mariupol have said they are facing up to their final 'hours' as Russia continues its attack on a stronghold in a steel plant.

Serhei Volyna, the commanding officer of Ukraine's 36th Marine Brigade, said in a video from the Azovstal outpost that his troops were outnumbered "10 to one".

A Russian ultimatum to Ukrainian troops in the city to surrender or die expired on Wednesday afternoon with no mass capitulation.

However, Mariupol has continued to be the focus of efforts to help civilians because of the "catastrophic humanitarian situation" in the city.

Speaking after a visit from the President of the European Council, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy confirmed he was prepared to release Russian prisoners of war in exchange for the safe passage of civilians and Ukrainian troops from Mariupol.

Around 100,000 people remain in the besieged city, it is understood.

The UN Refugee Agency said over five million refugees have fled Ukraine since Russia invaded on 24 February, with more than half being children.