Fears Putin poised to fire ‘flying Chernobyl’ missile 'that can stay airborne for WEEKS' as chilling 71st birthday gift | The Sun

VLADIMIR Putin is feared to be preparing to fire his terrifying nuclear missile with unlimited range in a chilling birthday gift to himself.

The Burevestnik nuclear-powered cruise missile, dubbed a "flying Chernobyl" by experts, is understood to be capable of flying for weeks on end.

So far, 13 previous tests of the fearsome missile have failed.

But satellite pictures and aviation data suggest the Russian tyrant – who celebrates his 71st birthday on Saturday – may be poised to launch the "doomsday" weapon.

Movements of aircraft and vehicles at and close to a base in Novaya Zemlya, Russia's remote Arctic region, are in line with previous preparations for a test, reports The New York Times.

Pilots have even been warned to avoid nearby airspace.

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A previous test in 2019 led to the deaths of seven people who attempted to salvage the crashed top-secret missile.

All seven were from Sarov, a closed nuclear city from which foreigners are banned. 

Putin dubbed them “national heroes” without explaining the details of their deaths.

The Burevestnik is viewed by the Russian dictator as a game-changing "doomsday" weapon with an unlimited range. 

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It is seen by the Kremlin as a low-flying “stealth” cruise missile that existing Western air defences would be incapable of intercepting.

The missile would also be able to deliver nuclear warheads anywhere around the globe.

Putin has called it “a radically new type of weaponry” with “unlimited range and unlimited ability to manoeuvre”.

Daryl G. Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, told The New York Times: "It is exotic — it is dangerous in its testing and development phase."

A report by the Nuclear Threat Initiative – a nonprofit arms control group – said Russia had conducted 13 known tests between 2017 and 2019, all of which were unsuccessful.

Putin's Burevestnik missile, known as Skyfall by NATO, was publically announced in March 2018 by President Putin in his annual address to the nation, alongside five other so-called "super weapons".

The missile – meaning "storm petrel" in Russian – is thought to have first been successfully test-fired in January 2020.

It was expected to be completed by 2025, but sources suggest its development has been sped up in the face of the ongoing war in Ukraine.

The nuclear-powered very-long-range missile was described by US military authorities in 2021 as a "unique weapon with intercontinental-range capability".

It is designed to carry a nuclear warhead, while a built-in mini-size nuclear reactor supposedly provides a range far longer than any previous non-ballistic cruise missiles.

The nuclear energy core in theory could let it fly around the world several times before hitting its target.

It can also follow a flat flight path at extremely low altitudes, making it "invisible" as it flies below the range of most missile detection systems.

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The warhead is just part of Putin's terrifying arsenal of up to 6,000 nukes and other super weapons.

Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu visited the Arctic archipelago last month

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