West warns of Russian cyber-attacks as concerns rise over Putin’s nuclear rhetoric
The US and four of its closest allies have warned that “evolving intelligence” shows that Russia is contemplating cyber-attacks on countries backing Ukraine, as the Kremlin’s frustration grows at its failure to make military gains. Vladimir Putin used the launch on Wednesday of a powerful new Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), capable of carrying ten or more warheads, to make nuclear threats against western countries. The Sarmat has long been in development and test flights were initially due to start in 2017. The Pentagon confirmed that the US had been given notice of the test and was not alarmed. Western officials are more concerned by the increasing emphasis Moscow puts on its nuclear arsenal as its conventional forces have faltered in Ukraine. The Ukrainian army continued to put up resistance in the besieged and devastated city of Mariupol, but Putin’s Chechen ally, Ramzan Kadyrov, predicted that the last stand of the port’s defenders at the Azovstal steel works would fall on Thursday.