WORLD War Three fears are being stoked as Russia slams Nato for “provoking conflict” with its Black Sea war games.
Moscow's warning comes amid plans for the final testing of Vladimir Putin’s feared hypersonic nukes – a lethal 15,880 mph weapon.
Moscow boasts its new weapon can evade the US's defence shield and is capable of destroying an area the size of England and Wales – or Texas.
Russia has today confirmed that flight tests of its new, deadly hypersonic 208-tonne ‘Satan-2’ intercontinental ballistic missile will begin soon.
The surprise announcement was made days after more than 2,000 forces and 30 ships, including from the UK, took part in Nato exercise Breeze 2021 in the Black Sea.
The first test of the fifth generation silo-based liquid-propellant intercontinental ballistic missile – called RS-28 Sarmat but dubbed in the West as Satan-2 – will be “in the autumn”.
And a second round of tests will launch before the end of this year.
A new propaganda video of the missile shows a poster boasting that Sarmat “does not need a visa” from the West.
The 15,880 mph weapon will become the biggest beast in Vladimir Putin’s modernised nuclear arsenal following the state trials.
If successful, the Sarmat missiles will help bolster Russia's defence as soon as next year.
Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said: "Flight tests [will begin] this year and should be completed in 2022.
“In 2022, the first batch should enter service with the strategic missile forces.”
The weapon can deliver a multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle (MIRV) warhead – that weighs up to 10 tonnes – to any point in the world, flying over both the North and South Poles, say the Russians.
It has the capability to use trajectories and unpredictable routes which “substantially impede their destruction even by advanced missile defence systems”, reported Izvestia.
It can fly by “unpredictable route” bypassing missile defence systems, say its designers.
The Sarmat is also able to fly over the North and South Pole and “approach targets from directions that are not envisaged for interception”.
Shoigu made the test announcement while visiting Krasnoyarsk-based Krasmash, where serial production of the new Sarmat strategic missile system is planned.
He was accompanied by the head of Russia’s space agency Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin.
"We have seen how Krasmash is ready to fulfil a long-term contract for one of the most formidable weapons our country must have – the Sarmat missile,” said Shoigu, a close ally of Putin.
The Black Sea is of strategic importance to Nato.
The launches are expected to be from an underground silo at Plesetsk space centre in northwestern Russia, hitting targets in Kamchatka on the country’s Pacific coast.
One test is likely to be at a maximum range of 11,200 miles.
Earlier footage shows the “invincible” hypersonic weapon emerging from its silo, pausing as if hovering above the ground, and then speeding to its target in a cloud of white smoke.
Today’s announcement comes amid high tension between Russia and the West.
Putin was angered after Bulgaria led a huge maritime exercise, which ended on July 19.
Fourteen Nato allies and partners were involved in the Black Sea mission – Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Spain, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and the US.
“The Black Sea is of strategic importance to Nato.
"The Alliance remains strongly committed to Black Sea security,” said deputy spokesperson Piers Cazalet.
Since Russia’s illegal and illegitimate annexation of Crimea, Nato has increased its presence in the Black Sea.
Nato ships routinely operate in the Black Sea, consistent with international law, usually patrolling the waters for around two-thirds of the year.
But Yuri Pilipson, director of Moscow’s Ministry Fourth European Department, told Ria Novosti on Thursday: "Unfortunately, we have to admit that the Black Sea is turning from a region of peace and good-neighbourliness into a zone of dangerous military confrontation.
"It is quite obvious that this kind of ‘training’ provokes, rather than prevents, conflict situations."
“We have repeatedly warned that escalation of military-political conflict directly on our borders carries with it a confrontational charge."
His warning comes after Russian hypersonic nuke submarines have been running sinister “deep penetration” missions – diving beyond 500 metres in the Atlantic Ocean.
And on August 2, The Sun Online reported that Moscow accused the US of an “extremely dangerous” threat to use force against Putin’s war planes over the Black Sea.
Deputy foreign minister Alexander Grushko hit back after a top American admiral said Moscow’s buzzing of NATO ships by low-flying air force fighters appeared to be "baiting us into shooting first”.
There's been a continuous war of words between Russia and the West, with fears that any future major conflict might be resolved in space.
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