Editor’s note: This article has been updated to include comment from a National Security Council spokesperson.
The U.S. believes Russia attempted to test-launch a nuclear-capable missile as President Joe Biden visited Kyiv, Ukraine, and air raid sirens blasted over the city Monday, CNN reported, citing two U.S. officials familiar with the matter.
The intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test, capable of delivering multiple nuclear warheads at targets across the globe, likely failed, the officials told CNN. Russia notified the U.S. of the planned test through channels of communication the two countries used to reduce the chances of unintended escalation in the lead-up to Biden’s train ride into Kyiv, the officials added.
The test did not endanger the U.S., and the Biden administration does not consider it an escalation or out of the ordinary, the officials said. Hours before Biden arrived in Kyiv, the U.S. had employed deconfliction lines to alert Moscow of the trip.
Biden met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and pledged $500 million in aid Monday before traveling to Warsaw, Poland, to deliver remarks with regional leaders and North Atlantic Treaty Organization heads.
The officials told CNN they believe Russian President Vladimir Putin would have referenced the test during his state of the nation address Tuesday had the launch succeeded. Instead, Putin warned that Russia would conduct nuclear tests in the future should the U.S. do the same.
However, the National Security Council is “aware of no test while [Biden] was there,” a NSC spokesperson told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Putin also announced Tuesday that Russia would no longer abide by the landmark START II treaty between Washington and Moscow that places limits on the nuclear warheads and delivery weapons each country can maintain. The U.S. had accused Russia in January of thwarting U.S. inspection teams, which as a condition of the treaty are required to conduct on-the-ground reviews of the other country’s weapons sites.
An unarmed #Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) successfully completed a scheduled operational test from Vandenberg Space Force Base, @SLDelta30. #ICBM test launches demonstrate the U.S. nuclear enterprise remains safe, secure, effective and #AlwaysReady. https://t.co/31Iy57kiEu
— United States Strategic Command (@US_STRATCOM) February 10, 2023
The treaty is the only agreement placing limits on the world’s two largest nuclear weapons stockpiles, according to CNN.
Russia has launched the so-called Satan II missile in the past, CNN reported. At the time, Putin said the launch would “give thought to those who are trying to threaten Russia.”
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