Testing the new Russian intercontinental missile: a propaganda tool rather than a threat

On Wednesday, the Russian army carried out an experimental launch of the RS-28 Sarmat, a high-powered and very long-range intercontinental thermonuclear missile. Vladimir Putin presented it as a warning to the enemies of his country. However, according to our experts, it is above all a message addressed to Russian public opinion, a week after the sinking of the Moskva. The Russian army carried out on Wednesday the test of its new intercontinental missile, the RS-28 Sarmat. A super-powerful fifth-generation thermonuclear device capable of striking at very long distances. Wrapped in a triumphant speech by Vladimir Putin, and in the context of Russia’s growing isolation against the backdrop of the war against Ukraine, this launch sounds like a threat. However, according to observers and our experts on set this Thursday , advertising around this weapon must above all be read as a propaganda instrument aimed at comforting the Russian population. And not as a warning to Russia’s enemies, Ukrainians or Westerners. Putin stirs up fears what to scare the planet. 200 tons at the withers, with a range of action estimated at between 6,000 and 18,000 kilometers, capable of carrying ten nuclear warheads and releasing a blast 100 or 200 times greater than that which razed Hiroshima, the RS-28-Sarmat asserts itself as a missile with unprecedented firepower. The nickname already given to it by specialists in the field, the “Satan-2”, echoes this. Worse still, according to these analysts, it is likely by its range, its speed, its load to rally Moscow to Paris in six minutes and to destroy France. time to do the after-sales service. “It is a unique weapon that will enhance the military potential of our armed forces, which will keep Russia safe from external threats and which will make those who try to threaten our country with unbridled and aggressive rhetoric think twice” , he said on Wednesday. It remains to be seen who is in the line of sight of the RS-28 Sarmat. The context pushes at first glance to think of the people suffering for almost two months the onslaught of the Russia of Vladimir Putin. “It is not a threat for Ukraine, it is vis-à-vis the Westerners”, however restored in our studios General Jérôme Pellistrandi, our consultant for defense issues this Thursday. In front of our cameras, Emmanuel Dupuy, president of the Institute for Prospective and Security in Europe, also invited us to turn our eyes elsewhere: “This missile was precisely fired in the direction of the United States while the Russian president had mentioned since the beginning of the conflict nuclear rhetoric. The United States, through the voice of the Pentagon and its spokesman John Kirby, have indeed assured that they have been warned in good time and in accordance with the treaties governing nuclear tests. Moreover, the Russian army obviously did not shake up its schedule when it came to carrying out its experiment. It had in fact planned to carry out five tests of the RS-28 Sarmat during this year 2022. Thus, we would only have witnessed the first of a long series. General Pellistrandi also advises to keep a cool head. “It’s a test shot so there will be time before it goes into service,” he pointed out. For him, this is just one more step on the already old and marked chronology of intercontinental missiles in Russia. “The Russians have been developing intercontinental missiles since 1957,” he noted. A response to the Moskva trauma More recently – in this case just a week ago – Russia has additionally suffered significant military trauma: the sinking of the Moskva, his cruiser, torpedoed in the Black Sea by the Ukrainians. A wound of pride – beyond the human tragedy it represents – which could well also explain Wednesday’s shooting. “There, we give a positive image of a Russian army in great difficulty in Ukraine. Because that makes it possible to say to public opinion: ‘You see, we have very high-tech weapons'”, further estimated Jérôme Pellistrandi. The North Korean example Our editorial writer for international subjects, Patrick Sauce, also saw a way to avenge the affront to the Kremlin: “It’s less a message for the Western community than for the Russians: ‘We lost our ship a week ago but we still have strong capacities'”. And an attempt to restore the coat of arms of the regime, according to a model well known in other latitudes. “It’s the same message that Kim Jong-Un sends to his fellow citizens when North Korea does its own tests,” added our journalist. On Wednesday, the RS-28 Sarmat took off from the Plesetsk area in the Arkhangelsk region, in northwestern Russia, before reaching its target, located in Kura, on the Kamchatka peninsula, more than 6000 kilometers from its launch pad. It is not known, however, whether the missile achieved its real objective: to strike Russian minds. Robin Verner Journalist BFMTV