Putin escalates nuclear rhetoric with talk of new weapon and a return to testing

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President Vladimir Putin has said Russia successfully completed the testing of a new nuclear-powered strategic missile and could revoke its ratification of a nuclear test ban treaty, raising fears that Moscow could resume nuclear testing for the first time in decades.

The Russian leader’s renewed nuclear talk on Thursday came against the backdrop of escalating rhetoric among Kremlin hawks, with a prominent propagandist drawing criticism this week for claims Russia should detonate a nuclear weapon over Siberia to send a message to the West.

In his hours-long remarks at a forum in the southern city of Sochi, Putin said Moscow has almost completed work on “modern types of strategic weapons,” which he first announced in 2018.

“The last successful test of the Burevestnik, a global-range cruise missile with a nuclear propulsion system, was carried out,” Putin said.