Days ago Russia's defense ministry (MoD) publicized a video showing off its ability to quickly deploy a powerful nuclear ICBM anywhere within the country - with a range capable of striking anywhere in Europe or the United States - as it was seen being loaded into a missile silo after being rapidly transported via land.
Below is video released by the Russian MoD, subsequently republished and circulated in Western press reports:
The Kremlin described that the military had loaded an "intercontinental ballistic missile into a silo launcher" in Kozelsk, in western Russia, soon after the Biden administration said it is mulling providing Ukraine with Patriot missile anti-air defenses, which would mark yet another significant escalation of Washington's involvement in the war.
The MoD statement identified the missile as a "Yars" - possessing a nuclear warhead - which was the same type test-fired by Russian nuclear forces in October.
According to Newsweek, citing regional press reports:
Komsomolskaya Pravda reported that the Yars missile complex which was loaded in the Kaluga region had the capacity that was "12 times greater than the American bomb that destroyed Hiroshima," referring to the atomic weapon dropped on the Japanese city on August 6, 1945.
The mass circulation paper's report also outlined some of the missile's specifications, which included an operational range of up to 12,000 kilometers which can strike the U.S. or anywhere in Europe, and a payload of up to 500 kilotons.
The Kremlin's release of the footage, coming so close in time to prior ICBM tests, seems a clear response to the White House saying it might send Patriots to Kiev.
President Putin recently restated the country's traditional nuclear doctrine, underscoring he doesn't seek to deploy nuclear arms, but also warned he is ready to do so if Russian territory comes under existential threat. This after Ukraine has over the past months launched a series of brazen drone, missile, and sabotage attacks inside Russia-held Crimea, and even deep into Russian territory itself in cross-border raids. Western media took Putin's words as another nuclear threat aimed at Ukraine and its military backers.