Burevestnik: Russia’s nuclear missiles can now reach targets in US; enemies won’t survive, says President Vladimir Putin | Mint
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Business News/ News / World/  Burevestnik: Russia’s nuclear missiles can now reach targets in US; enemies won’t survive, says President Vladimir Putin
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Burevestnik: Russia’s nuclear missiles can now reach targets in US; enemies won’t survive, says President Vladimir Putin

Putin's announcements on Russia's strategic nuclear armament cause concern

This pool photograph distributed by Russian state owned agency Sputnik shows Russian President Vladimir Putin addressing the plenary session of the Valdai Discussion Club forum in Sochi on October 5, 2023. (Photo by Sergei GUNEYEV / POOL / AFP) (Sergei GUNEYEV / POOL / AFP)Premium
This pool photograph distributed by Russian state owned agency Sputnik shows Russian President Vladimir Putin addressing the plenary session of the Valdai Discussion Club forum in Sochi on October 5, 2023. (Photo by Sergei GUNEYEV / POOL / AFP) (Sergei GUNEYEV / POOL / AFP)

Russian President Vladimir Putin's latest announcements concerning the country’s strategic nuclear armament have sent ripples through international defence forums.

Since the beginning of his invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, Putin has constantly emphasised Russia's nuclear power. He claimed that no one in their right mind would use nuclear weapons against Russia.

If any country dares to do so, "such a number of our missiles - hundreds, hundreds - would appear in the air that not a single enemy would have a chance of survival", said Putin.

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Dubbed the 'Storm Petrel' (or 'Burevestnik' in Russian), this missile is ground-launched and possesses both nuclear-capable and nuclear-powered attributes. What sets it apart is its incredible range. The International Institute for Strategic Studies once noted its potential to cover distances up to 20,000 km. This implies that the missile, when stationed anywhere in Russia, could potentially reach targets in the United States, Reuters reported.

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Its other noteworthy feature is its ability to fly at remarkably low altitudes of 50-100 metres. Such a trait makes it a stealthy contender, evading air-defence radars with relative ease. The United States Air Force's National Air and Space Intelligence Center, back in 2020, opined that this missile, once operational, would offer Moscow a "unique weapon with intercontinental-range capability", Reuters added.

However, the journey of the 'Storm Petrel' hasn't been without challenges. Historical data points towards test failures. Most notably, in 2019, an explosion during an experimental procedure in the White Sea resulted in the tragic loss of five Russian nuclear specialists. Although not officially confirmed, whispers among US intelligence circles speculated this to be a test for the Burevestnik.

Also Read: Will Vladimir Putin run in Russia's 2024 elections? Hint may out next month

West's doubts about Burevestnik

For some time, the West was sceptical about the missile's actual deployment. The Nuclear Threat Initiative, a security organisation, once predicted in 2019 that the Burevestnik might take a decade before seeing deployment. 

This missile's ability to stay airborne for extended periods, potentially days, could revolutionise nuclear strategy, circumnavigating the globe, evading defences, and striking unpredictably.

The recent advancements in Russian strategic systems might pose complexities in Moscow-Washington talks on nuclear weapons limits, according to Reuters. Russia, earlier this year, took a step back from the New START treaty, which seeks to cap nuclear arsenals and is set to lapse in 2026.

(With Reuters inputs)

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sounak Mukhopadhyay
Sounak Mukhopadhyay, who also goes by the name Sounak Mukherjee, has been producing digital news since 2012. He's worked for the International Business Times, The Inquisitr, and Moneycontrol in the past. He's also contributed to Free Press Journal and TheRichest with feature articles. He covers news for a wide range of subjects including business, finance, economy, politics and sports. Before working with digital news publications, he worked as a freelance content writer.
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Published: 06 Oct 2023, 10:06 AM IST
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