By Ryan King
One of Russia’s nuclear-powered submarines, named Belgorod, has reportedly vanished from its Arctic harbor, and Western countries fear it could be gearing up to test its advanced weapons systems.
Belgorod is believed to be armed with “Poseidon” nuclear torpedoes that supposedly have the ability to traverse hundreds of miles underwater and induce “nuclear tsunamis” near coastal regions, Italian newspaper La Repubblica reported.
“This nuclear ‘mega torpedo’ is unique in the history of the world,” submarine expert H.I. Sutton explained on his website Covert Shores. “Poseidon is a completely new category of weapon. It will reshape naval planning in both Russia and the West, leading to new requirements and new counter-weapons.”
NATO has warned its members that Belgorod has left its perch in the Arctic harbor, per La Repubblica. Belgorod is believed to be one of the largest submarines in the world and entered service back in July, the New York Post reported. NATO officials reportedly believe it could be headed to the Kara Sea for testing.
Formally known as the K-329 Belgorod, the submarine has been described as “the epitome of a new concept of warfare.”
News of Belgorod’s disappearance comes amid heightened concerns that the Kremlin is eyeing its nuclear weapons as it suffers setbacks in Ukraine. Recent footage shared on a pro-Russian Telegram channel showed a train transporting advanced military gear that belongs to the 12th Main Directorate, which helps maintain Moscow’s nuclear stockpile, the Daily Mail reported.
Last month, Russian President Vladimir Putin sent much of the West into a frenzy when he vowed to defend the “territorial integrity of our Motherland” by “all the means at our disposal” — remarks that were widely interpreted as a nuclear threat.
The Kremlin has suffered a string of snags on the battlefield in neighboring Ukraine. Recently, Russian forces pulled back from the eastern city of Lyman, located in the Donetsk region. The setback came on the heels of Putin signing an agreement to annex four regions in Ukraine, including the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic.
During a signing ceremony, Putin said the United States created a “precedent” for deploying nuclear weapons, which it did during World War II. Western officials such as Secretary of State Antony Blinken have warned of consequences for Russia deploying nukes.
Over the weekend, retired Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster surmised that Moscow could be on the “precipice of, really, the collapse of the Russian army in Ukraine.”