Russia tried and failed a test launch of its new “Satan II” intercontinental ballistic missile while Joe Biden was in Ukraine on Monday, according to a report.
Moscow was said to have tested the 200-tonne Sarmat missile system, which can carry a dozen nuclear warheads and strike anywhere in the world, while the US President was meeting his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky, on Monday.
Russian officials warned Washington through so-called deconfliction lines that the launch would be going ahead, US officials told CNN.
In his speech later that day, Mr Putin declared that Russia would be suspending its participation in the New Start nuclear arms reduction treaty.
Russia had previously tested an ICBM last November. Military analysts have said it could reach London in as little as 13 minutes if it was based in Russia’s extreme west.
The Russian president has previously boasted his new missile, officially known as Sarmat, would “give thought to those who are trying to threaten Russia”.
It comes as Mr Biden was due to meet eastern European leaders on Wednesday, a day after vowing Russia would never see victory in Ukraine.
Vladimir Putin expected to attend pro-war rally in Moscow
Vladimir Putin will likely attend a pro-war rally in Moscow on Wednesday.
It will be the third time the Russian president has attended a mass gathering in support of his invasion of Ukraine, which he launched almost a year ago.
The outdoor rally will feature musical acts and speeches, according to Russian media outlets.
Ukraine destroys Russian ammunition depot deep behind enemy lines
Ukraine appeared to have hit a Russian ammunition depot in occupied Mariupol on Wednesday, with more than a dozen explosions reported in the early hours.
The southern port city is known to be outside the range of the American-made Himars rocket launcher, which has a range of some 50 miles.
“Information on night explosions in Mariupol. The data were confirmed that an ammunition depot of the occupiers had been destroyed near the airport,” The Mariupol City Council posted on the Telegram messaging app.
Ukraine has yet to officially take responsibility for the apparent strike.
Ukraine has suffered at least 100,000 casualties over the past year
Ukraine’s armed forces have suffered at least 100,000 casualties since Russia invaded almost a year ago, according to Western officials.
But far fewer Ukrainians have died because of good medical care compared to the 200,000 Russians estimated to have been killed or wounded in the war.
“We can’t escape the fact that Ukrainians have been taking casualties at a level which would be unsustainable for many countries,” a Western official said.
“But Ukraine’s death to wounded ratio is significantly lower than for the Russians, which is about three wounded to one dead. The Ukrainian figure is between 10 or 20 to one.”
Biden to meet with eastern European leaders
US President Joe Biden will meet leaders of NATO’s eastern flank on Wednesday to show support for their security after Moscow suspended a landmark nuclear arms control treaty.
He will meet staff from the US embassy in Warsaw before gathering leaders of the Bucharest Nine, the countries on NATO’s eastern flank who joined the Western military alliance after being dominated by Moscow during the Cold War.
Most are among the strongest supporters of military aid to Ukraine, and officials from countries in the group have called for additional resources such as air defence systems.
At the meeting, Mr Biden plans to reaffirm commitments over their security and discuss support for Ukraine before he returns to Washington.
Mr Biden arrived in Warsaw late on Monday after a surprise visit to Kyiv just days ahead of the anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022.