Putin oversees Russia’s hypersonic weapons test
Russian President Vladimir Putin oversaw a test Wednesday of a new hypersonic glide vehicle, declaring that the weapon is impossible to intercept and will ensure Russia’s security for decades to come.
Speaking to Russia’s top military brass after watching the live feed of the launch of the Avangard vehicle from the Defense Ministry’s control room, Putin said the successful test was a “great success” and an “excellent New Year’s gift to the nation.”
The test comes amid bitter tensions in Russia- U.S. relations, which have sunk to their lowest level since the Cold War times over the conflict in Ukraine, the war in Syria and the allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Putin’s hopes for repairing ties with Washington under President Donald Trump have fizzled amid investigations into allegations of Trump’s campaign ties with Russia, and tensions have escalated as the U.S. administration slapped Russia with new waves of sanctions.
The Avangard was among the array of new nuclear weapons that Putin presented in March, saying that Russia had to develop them in response to the development of the U.S. missile defense system that could erode Russia’s nuclear deterrent.
In Wednesday’s test, the weapon was launched from the Dombarovskiy missile base in the southern Ural Mountains. The Kremlin said it successful- ly hit a designated practice target on the Kura shooting range on Kamchatka, 3,700 miles away.
“The Avangard is invulnerable to intercept by any existing and prospective missile defense means of the potential adversary,” Putin said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and military officials watch the test launch of the Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle from the Defense Ministry's control room in Moscow on Wednesday.