European capitals were threatened with nuclear attacks on Russian state television. Weapons expert Marc Finaud on the danger of Russian nuclear missiles.
Russian state broadcaster Rossiya 24 openly threatened nuclear attacks over the weekend. With the new Russian Sarmat missiles, which NATO designates as the SS-X-30 Satan 2, destinations such as Berlin, Paris or London can be reached in less than four minutes.
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The SS-X-30 Satan 2 was successfully tested by Russia on April 20. According to Vladimir Putin, “all modern means of anti-missile defense can be overcome”. Russian state television also published a map with the damaged areas marked in red. According to this map, a large part of Austria and Switzerland would be spared. But is it really so? Marc Finaud, head of the weapons proliferation department at the Geneva Security Policy Center, explains Russia’s latest nuclear threat.
Mr Finaud, how dangerous is the Satan 2 missile really?
It is as dangerous as the existing ICBMs of all nuclear powers. They all have a hypersonic speed of up to 24,000 km/h in their final stage. But this missile has a longer range, 10,000 miles. It can also carry up to 15 nuclear warheads or hypersonic gliders, which can hit a target without being detected and intercepted.
What else is known about the Satan 2 rocket?
This missile is intended to replace the old Cold War missile SS-18. It was made public by Putin in 2018 and presented as a response to US defense systems or long-range precision guided missiles. It is intended to bypass or disrupt any US defense system. The destructive power it can unleash is greater than the previous SS-18 missile, which was already capable of carrying 800 kilotons, or the equivalent of 53 Hiroshima bombs. A Sarmat could drop up to 333 Hiroshima equivalents anywhere in the world.
Hits across Europe can be seen on the map published by Russian state television. What would this attack really mean?
These maps make no sense because no one would target these targets with ICBMs, but with short-range missiles. In any case, even with short-range missiles and low-yield warheads, these cities would be utterly destroyed, killing millions.
Austria and Switzerland are marked in green on the map. Would nothing really happen to us if, for example, Berlin were attacked?
In a global nuclear war that would erupt in the event of an escalation between Russia and NATO, it is likely that no country could be protected from any form of fallout. When large cities are destroyed by fire, smoke and soot will rise into the atmosphere, leading to the so-called nuclear winter that will cause famine.
What do you think, why is this map shown on Russian state television?
It is part of a terror strategy that goes hand in hand with nuclear weapons. But these explicit threats and minimizing the use of nuclear weapons are irresponsible and increase the risk of actual use.
Would such an attack be announced in advance?
A nuclear crisis can result from an escalation in a conventional conflict and is difficult to predict or prevent. This is why it is so dangerous to have systems on high alert that can boot up in minutes with no chance of review or trading. Accidental or unauthorized launches, launches in response to false alarms or cyber attacks can occur at any time and without notice.
Rfi navigation account, 20 minutes 03.05.2022, 13:47| Act: 05.03.2022, 1:53 pm