Vladimir Putin seems completely unfazed by filling the role of global villain, and this week was no exception.
The Russian leader has been careless in his invasion of Ukraine and the auxiliary propaganda surrounding it. His unsatisfactory justification for the “special military operation” has shifted wildly over the course of the last year, while his troops on the ground have turned this invasion into pure and unfettered genocide of the Ukrainian people.
Now, to make matters all the more belligerent, Putin has apparently attempted, (and failed), to test an intercontinental missile at the same time that the US President was visiting Ukraine.
Russia carried out a test of an intercontinental ballistic missile that appears to have failed around the time President Joe Biden was in Ukraine on Monday, according to two US officials familiar with the matter.
Russia notified the United States in advance of the launch through deconfliction lines, one official said. Another official said that the test did not pose a risk to the United States and that the US did not view the test as an anomaly or an escalation.
The test of the heavy SARMAT missile – nicknamed the Satan II in the West and capable of delivering multiple nuclear warheads – appears to have failed, officials said. It has been successfully tested before and had this one worked, US officials believe Russian President Vladimir Putin would have highlighted the test in his State of the Nation address on Tuesday.
But this was no feather in the Russian tyrant’s cap.
Instead, Putin made no mention of the launch in the speech that lasted an hour and 45 minutes. He did, however, formally declare that Russia will be suspending his country’s participation in the New START nuclear arms reduction treaty with the United States, imperiling the last remaining pact that regulates the world’s two largest nuclear arsenals.
Russia’s military mishaps have been a large piece of the Ukrainian invasion story, with the first wave of Moscow’s troops crossing the border in 70 year-old tanks, carrying rusty AK-47’s. Subsequently, a number of attempted nuclear tests have failed, with some suggesting that sabotage may have played a role.