The Russian space agency Roscosmos made a significant announcement on Friday, revealing the deployment of Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), commonly referred to as Satan II missiles. These formidable weapons have been a topic of discussion since their unveiling in 2018 and are a cornerstone of Russia’s nuclear deterrence strategy.

Satan II Missiles: A Strategic Shift

Russian President Vladimir Putin has previously emphasized that these missiles would force the world and potential adversaries to think twice before engaging in any combat with Russia. Roscosmos general director Yuri Borisov was quoted as saying, “The Sarmat strategic complex has been put on combat duty,” underscoring the seriousness of this deployment. The Sarmat ICBMs are expected to replace the aging R-36 ICBMs.

These Sarmat ICBMs are massive, measuring approximately 116 feet in length and weighing a staggering 220 tonnes. Their formidable payload includes at least 10-15 nuclear warheads, equipped with the Multiple Independently Targetable Reentry Vehicles (MIRVs) technology, allowing a single rocket to strike multiple targets simultaneously.

A Message to NATO and the US

Experts speaking to US-based media outlets view this move as Putin’s way of sending a clear message to NATO and the United States. By deploying these advanced ICBMs, Putin is reminding the world that the nuclear option remains on the table. Russian defense committee deputy chairman Aleksey Zhuravlyov previously suggested that Putin could employ Satan-II missiles to target the US and the UK, particularly because of their roles in organizing NATO. Zhuravlyov’s remarks came in response to Sweden and Finland joining NATO, further heightening tensions.

Deterrence, Not Aggression

Rebekah Koffler, author of the book “Putin’s Playbook: Russia’s Secret Plan to Defeat America,” offered insights on the role of the Sarmat ICBMs. According to Koffler, these missiles are not intended for an immediate attack on the American mainland. Instead, they primarily serve as a deterrence mechanism, unless Russia faces aggression from external forces. With a range of approximately 10,000 to 18,000 kilometers, these missiles can effectively cover vast distances.

Vladimir Putin himself has emphasized the defensive nature of these missiles. Following the commencement of the conflict in Ukraine, he stated, “(Satan II missiles) make those who, in the heat of frantic, aggressive rhetoric, try to threaten our country, think twice.” Putin also highlighted that all components of these ICBMs are domestically produced, reducing Russia’s dependence on foreign partners in their production.

Additionally, one noteworthy feature of the Satan-II missiles is their short initial launch phase, which limits the time available for surveillance systems to track them. This further enhances their strategic value in a potential conflict scenario.


The deployment of Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missiles, or Satan II missiles, by Russia marks a significant development in global geopolitics. While these formidable weapons are a powerful symbol of Russia’s nuclear capabilities, they are primarily intended for deterrence rather than aggression. The strategic implications of these missiles will undoubtedly shape international relations and discussions surrounding global security in the years to come.

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