Even as President of Russia Vladimir Putin issued a warning to the West, announcing the first test launch of its new, nuclear-capable Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) system on 20 April, United States President Joe Biden announced an additional $ 800 million security assistance package for Ukraine this morning to shore up support for the embattled European country as it faces a fresh onslaught by Russia on its eastern flank.
Addressing American citizens from the White House’s Roosevelt Room, Biden pledged to send dozens of howitzers, 1,44,000 rounds of ammunition and tactical drones, as he called on Congress for supplemental funding to provide additional aid for Kyiv.
“We’re in a critical window now of time where they’re going to set the stage for the next phase of this war,” Biden said. The United States and its allies are “moving as fast as possible” to provide Ukraine with the equipment and weapons it needs.
At the same time in Moscow, Putin told the Russian 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,” he said.
Meanwhile, Western analysts have branded the Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) as “Satan 2”. It is among the next-generation missiles of Russia that Putin says is “invincible”. The package includes the Kinzhal and Avangard hypersonic missiles.
Russia’s defence ministry said in a statement the test “successfully” had been conducted at the Plesetsk cosmodrome in northern Russia. According to the ministry, the missile delivered training warheads to the Kura test range of the Kamchatka peninsula, in the far eastern ends of Russia.
“Sarmat is the most powerful missile with the longest range of destruction of targets in the world, which will significantly increase the combat power of our country’s strategic nuclear forces,” the ministry said.
Tass quoted Dmitry Rogozin, head of the Roscosmos space agency, as saying that Russia’s nuclear forces will start taking delivery of the new missile “in the autumn of this year” once testing is complete.
The Sarmat missile weighs more than 200 tonnes. Russia has claimed that Sarmat can reach an unmatched 16,000 miles/h (almost 25,750 km/h) and can deploy 10 or more warheads on each missile. The long-range missile has been in development since the 2000s.
With Sarmat, Russia has the option of firing it over either of the Earth’s poles. It is deemed a major challenge to the ground and satellite-based radar and tracking systems.
On the other side, US President Joe Biden announced today that the United States would ban Russian-affiliated ships from American ports, joining Canada and European nations, in the latest step to pressure Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.
The White House will release a proclamation with more details. The ban was under consideration by the White House since March.
“That means no ship, no ship that sails under the Russian flag or that is owned or operated by a Russian entity will be allowed to dock in a United States port or access our shores. None,” Biden said Thursday.
And to take care of Ukraine’s depleting financial resources, G7 finance ministers have said they have provided and pledged together with the international community additional support to Ukraine exceeding $ 24 billion for 2022 and beyond, adding that they were prepared to do more as needed.
In a statement, the G7 ministers said they regretted Russia’s participation in international forums, including G20, International Monetary Fund and World Bank meetings this week.
“International organisations and multilateral fora should no longer conduct their activities with Russia in a business-as-usual manner,” the ministers said.