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Putin sends hypersonic missiles to Atlantic on ship

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a Kremlin meeting, March 16, 2022. (Screenshot)
January 04, 2023

On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin sent a frigate armed with hypersonic missiles to the Atlantic Ocean. The move is an apparent show of force as the Russia-Ukraine conflict heads into its 11th month.

According to Reuters, Putin said the frigate was armed with Zircon hypersonic missiles during a video conference with Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and Igor Krokhmal, the ship’s commander.

 “This time the ship is equipped with the latest hypersonic missile system – ‘Zircon’ – which has no analogues,” Putin said. “This is a hypersonic sea–based system.”

Shoigu said the ship, named “Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union Gorshkov,” would travel to the Atlantic and Indian oceans, as well as the Mediterranean Sea.

Putin sent off the ship shortly after Russian and Chinese forces held a set of joint military drills focused on hunting enemy submarines. The drills indicate the two countries may be concerned with how to counter U.S. and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) submarine forces in a potential future conflict in the Indo-Pacific region.

Last year, a Russian lawmaker threatened that Russia could destroy the entire east coast of the United States with just two missiles if Putin ordered such a strike.

During an appearance on Russian TV, parliament member Alexei Zhuravlev said at the time, “I will tell you absolutely competently that to destroy the entire the East Coast of the United States, two Sarmat missiles are needed.”

“The same goes for the West Coast,” Zhuravlev added. “Four missiles, and there will be nothing left.”

The Russian RS-28 Sarmat missile, which is also known as the Satan II, is an intercontinental ballistic missile believed to be able to carry multiple warheads, including up to 10 large nuclear warheads, or 16 smaller ones, or a combination of warheads and countermeasures, or hypersonic boost-glide vehicles.