By Tim Lister and Sergey Gudkov | CNN
Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced that Russia has successfully carried out a test of a new generation of nuclear-powered cruise missile.
State news agency RIA Novosti quoted Putin as saying the “last successful test of the Burevestnik, a global-range cruise missile with a nuclear installation, a nuclear propulsion system, has been conducted.”
Putin was speaking at the Valdai Forum in Sochi.
The program to develop the Burevestnik was announced by Putin in March 2018 as part of a broader initiative to develop a new generation of intercontinental and hypersonic missiles. Among them were the Kinzhal ballistic missile and the Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle. Addressing the West, he said in that speech: “Listen to us now.”
Putin told the Federal Assembly in March 2018 that the goal was to ensure a strategic balance in the world for decades to come, including the Burevestnik and Sarmat missiles.
“It is a low-flying stealth missile carrying a nuclear warhead, with almost unlimited range, unpredictable trajectory and ability to bypass interception boundaries,” Putin said then.
However, Western analysts say the program has since run into trouble, with a number of failed tests. In 2019, the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), an open source analytical group, said that “there is a consensus in the press, with purported agreement from U.S. intelligence services, that the Burevestnik has been tested 13 times, with two partial successes.”
The NTI quoted Russian military expert Alexei Leonkov as describing the Burevestnik as a weapon of retaliation, which Russia would use after Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles to finish military and civilian infrastructure and not leave a chance of survival.