Vladimir Monomakh nuclear submarine

Russian submarine test-fires four nuclear missiles in western Pacific

A Russian nuclear submarine successfully test-fired four intercontinental ballistic missiles on Saturday in a show of readiness of Moscow's nuclear forces amid tension with the US.

The Vladimir Monomakh nuclear submarine test launched four ballistic missiles on Saturday in the Sea of Okhotsk, the western Pacific Ocean, Russia's Defence Ministry said in a statement.

The Bulava missiles were launched from underwater and hit their target several thousand kilometres away in the Nenets Autonomous Okrug, the statement said.

It was the submarine's first test of four missiles. It has a capacity for 16 Bulava missiles with nuclear warheads.

The Vladimir Monomakh is one of the new Borei-class nuclear submarines that carry 16 Bulava missiles each and are intended to serve as the core of the naval component of the nation's nuclear forces for decades to come. 

Another submarine of the same type performed a similar launch of four Bulava missiles in 2018 — a costly demonstration of the efficiency of the country's nuclear deterrent mimicking the conditions of a major nuclear conflict.

Russia has expanded its military drills in recent years amid tensions with the West as relations have sunk to post-Cold War lows after Moscow's 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula.

The series of missile launches comes less than two months before the New START US-Russian arms control treaty expires in early February. Moscow and Washington have discussed the possibility of its extension, but so far have failed to overcome their differences.