Russian state media has urged Vladimir Putin to wipe out the UK with nukes over its ‘boorish’ support for Ukraine.
Vladimir Solovyov, often referred to as Putin’s propagandist, made the threat today as he spoke to the head of Russia’s space agency about the country’s new Sarmat 2 missile which is due to go into service later this year.
‘As it turned out, one Sarmat means minus one Great Britain,’ Solovyov boasted, saying the UK has become ‘totally boorish’ – evidently a reference to its vocal support for Ukraine since Putin gave the order to invade.
He was speaking just two days after Putin claimed to have uncovered a plot to assassinate Solovyov involving a ‘neo-Nazi gang’ taking orders from Kyiv. Ukraine has denied the existence of any such plot.
Putin’s propagandist has threatened to wipe the UK out using one of Russia’s new nuclear missiles – Sarmat 2 (pictured being tested last week) – over its support for Ukraine
Vladimir Solovyov issued the threat while talking on state TV about how the new missile will be deployed to Siberia later this year
The missile – dubbed ‘Satan 2’ in the West – is one of the world’s largest and longest-ranged nuclear missiles, capable of carrying up to 15 warheads and decoys which Russia claims makes it unstoppable against all current defences.
Dmitry Rogozin, head of the Roscosmos space agency, told Solovyov that 46 of the missiles will be constructed with the first deployed to units in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia, later this year.
‘Everything is according to plan with us,’ he said. ‘It is all according to plan.’
Putin oversaw the first successful test launch of the missile last week, saying it marks a ‘significant event in the development of advanced weapons of the Russian army.’
He boasted that the missile is ‘unique in the world’ and that nothing like it will exist ‘for a long while’.
‘The new complex has the highest performance characteristics, and can break through all modern anti-missile defences,’ he said.
‘It will reliably secure Russia from external threats, and will force those trying to threaten our country in the heat of frenzied aggressive rhetoric.’
Solovyov’s remarks are hardly the first time that Russia has threatened the West with nuclear weapons during the war, or the first threat against the UK.
Russia has been ramping up its rhetoric against the West in recent days after Ukraine’s allies agreed to dramatically increase weapons supplies (pictured, a downed Russian jet)
The UK has led weapons supplies to Ukraine, sending state-of-the-art anti-aircraft missiles (pictured) as well as armoured anti-air vehicles
On Monday, foreign minister Sergei Lavrov warned that Russia is now fighting a proxy-war with the whole of NATO and the risk of it turning nuclear is ‘real’.
Speaking to state TV, Lavrov said the current situation is worse than the Cuban missile crisis at the height of the Cold War because of a complete break-down in relations between the two sides.
Asked directly about the possibility of a nuclear war, he said: ‘The risks are very significant. I do not want the danger to be artificially inflated [but] it is serious, real. It cannot be underestimated.’
Maria Zakharova, spokesman for the foreign ministry, then issued a threat to strike NATO countries supplying arms to Ukraine – with the UK among those leading weapons deliveries.
‘Do we understand correctly that for the sake of disrupting the logistics of military supplies, Russia can strike military targets on the territory of those NATO countries that supply arms to the Kyiv regime,’ she asked.
‘After all, this directly leads to deaths and bloodshed on Ukrainian territory. As far as I understand, Britain is one of those countries.’
But armed forces minister James Heappey dismissed the comments as ‘bravado’, saying he sees no imminent threat of nuclear escalation.
‘Lavrov’s trademark over the course of 15 years or so that he has been the Russian foreign secretary has been that sort of bravado. I don’t think that right now there is an imminent threat of escalation,’ Heappey told BBC Television.
FSB agents yesterday raided the ‘neo-Nazi gang’ accused of plotting to kill Solovyov and uncovered this haul – which includes three copies of The Sims video game, leading to speculation they bungled an order to plant phone SIM cards at the scene
Russian state media said the plot had been orchestrated from Kyiv, as Putin accused Ukraine of threatening journalists (Putin pictured with Solovyov in 2013)
‘What the West is doing to support its allies in Ukraine is very well calibrated … Everything we do is calibrated to avoid direct confrontation with Russia.’
Amidst the nuclear threats, Putin on Monday claimed his secret service had uncovered a plot to assassinate Solovyov, who is one of Russia’s best-known TV anchors who often chairs talk panels on its main news channel.
The FSB later released footage which it claimed showed agents raiding the hide-out of a neo-Nazi gang, alleging they had been given orders by Ukraine’s secret service to kill Solovyov ‘as soon as possible’.
Agents also released images taken inside the lair, which showed pistols, bullets, packets of meth, a sawn-off shotgun and Nazi paraphernalia.
But one strange inclusion was three copies of The Sims video game – sparking speculation that the ‘lair’ had in fact been staged by bungling agents who misinterpreted an instruction to plant phone SIM cars at the scene.
Illia Ponomarkenko – the Kyiv Independent’s defence reporter – wrote: ‘A Hitler portrait, a swastika flag, a Neo-Nazi publication, some meth, and Sims 3 discs are exactly what you would take with yourself for a high-profile mission to assassinate a top-ranking war propaganda pundit in Russia. Totally makes sense.’
Elliot Higgins, founder of investigative website Bellingcat, added: Classic saboteur checklist: Explosives, check. Guns, check. Mein Kampf, check. Nazi Flag, check.
‘The Sims Expansions, check, check, check.’
For the avoidance of doubt, he then added: ‘I genuinely believe this is a dumb FSB officer being told to get 3 SIMs.’
Russia considers western arms shipments to Ukraine legitimate targets for attack, Lavrov added, after the US pledged to send heavier weapons to the country this week (file image)
Matthew Champion, world news editor for VICE, also wrote: ‘Russia produces world class trolls but terrible spies.
‘The idea that someone somewhere misunderstood an order for three sim cards with three copies of the Sims 3 is actually eminently believable.’
Russia is now more than two months into what was supposed to be a days-long ‘special military operation’ in Ukraine aimed at toppling the government and installing a pro-Moscow puppet regime.
Despite 62 days of intense fighting, Ukraine’s military remains in control of the majority of its territory and has forced the Russians to retreat from Kyiv after suffering heavy losses.
Ukraine estimates it has killed more than 22,000 Russian troops, with fighting still underway in the eastern Donbas region and the south near occupied Kherson.
Russian commanders say they are working to seize the whole of the Donbas region and create a ‘land corridor’ along the south of Ukraine – cutting it off from the Black Sea and connecting occupied Moldova and Crimea with the mainland.
But Ukraine’s defences are largely holding firm, with the West pledging to keep up supplies of heavy arms until the war has been ‘won’.
The UK has already supplied Ukraine with the latest anti-aircraft missiles and armoured vehicles, as well as thousand of older anti-tank rockets.
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss is expected to use a speech today to go one step further, calling on the West to supply Ukraine with aircraft.
She will also call for an increase in spending on the armed forces, warning that years of Western scrimping on defence budgets led to the invasion.