Russia could be close to conducting a test of an experimental cruise missile that is powered by nuclear technology and has a jaw-dropping potential strike range of nearly 14,000 miles, according to reports.
In 2019, a Burevestnik launch test was unsuccessful when a missile crashed and detonated as crews tried to recover the weapon, killing seven people, The Times reported.
As reported by The New York Times, satellite imagery of a Russian Arctic base reveals the presence of aircraft and vehicles in patterns reminiscent of prior testing activities conducted by the country. Russia also has reportedly issued an aviation notice that aligns with its historical testing practices.
It's speculated the United States has sent surveillance aircraft into the area, which indicates the government could be worried about the potential tests.
It is unclear whether or not the Burevestnik, first introduced in 2018, has again undergone testing or a test mission is imminent.
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The problems with the missiles were related to activating a nuclear propulsion unit, according to The Hill.
Burevestnik missiles are part of a new arsenal equipped by Russia with the aim of having capabilities of sending weapons a much further distance.
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Arms Control Association Executive Director Daryl G. Kimball said even if a test launch is successful, “the missile would still be years away from ‘operational deployment,’” The Times reported.
Earlier this year, Russian president Vladimir Putin suspended the New Strategic Arms Reduction, an agreement between Russia and the United States that required both countries to share nuclear information and limits nuclear weapons in their arsenals.
As the war in Ukraine continues, Putin has threatened on multiple occasions to use nuclear weapons in the conflict. He has accused the West of inciting such action as it helps Ukraine fend off the invasion.
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