What’s Putin up to? Kremlin sources reveal explosive military plans

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Moscow will carry out more test-launches of Russia’s advanced Tsirkon hypersonic missile towards the end of the year. The missiles will be launched from the Admiral Gorshkov frigate.

A source said: “As part of the ongoing flight trials of the Tsirkon hypersonic missile, three more test launches will be carried out by the Admiral Gorshkov frigate.

“The nearest launch will take place in late October – early November.”

A second source told Russian News Agency, TASS, all three missile launches will “involve real strike at sea or land targets”.

These targets will imitate “aircraft carriers or strategic facilities of a notional enemy”.

Earlier this week, the chief of Russia’s general staff Army General Valery Gerasimov spoke to President Vladimir Putin.

He informed the President the Admiral Gorshkov successfully test-fired a Tsikron hypersonic missile from the White Sea against a sea target.

It is believed the missile reached its target at a distance of 450km in the Barents Sea on October 6.

The missile flew to a range of 450km, climbing to a maximum altitude of 28km.

According to reports, the flight lasted four and a half minutes and gained a hypersonic speed of more than Mach 8 – eight times the speed of sound.

The missile test was launched of Mr Putin’s 68th birthday, with the President saying: “This is a big event not only for the life of the armed forces, but also for all of Russia, for the whole country.”

Back in January, Russia test-launched the missile successfully for the first time.

The latest launch comes amid tensions between Moscow and Washington.

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New START, the last major nuclear arms pact in place between the two countries, is due to expire in February.

And this week the Kremlin said it saw no cause for optimism in Russia’s talks with the US and urged for the negotiations to be more successful.

Meanwhile, tensions between Russia and the West remain following the poisoning of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.

Russia has continued to deny any involvement with Mr Navalny’s poisoning and have promised they are not developing any chemical weapons.

Mr Navalny’s team claim he was poisoned with a Novichok nerve agent and was placed in a coma after falling in on a flight to Berlin.

He has since been discharged from hospital.

The name Novichok applies to a group of advanced nerve agents developed by the Soviet Union in the 1970s and 1980s.

Novichok agents block messages from the nerves to the muscles, causing the collapse of many bodily functions.

They were reportedly designed to be more toxic than other chemical weapons.

Some versions can take effect rapidly from 30 seconds to two minutes.

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