Business Insider noted: “one US analyst estimated that the cobalt would take 53 years to return to non-dangerous levels.”
Hans Kristensen, the director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists, told Business Insider that Poseiden may be able to carry a nuclear payload of “anything from a normal yield to up to 100 megatons.”
— H I Sutton (@CovertShores) July 20, 2018
That’s twice as large as the most powerful nuclear bomb ever tested, the Tsar Bomba, which the Soviet Union detonated in 1961. This hydrogen bomb exploded with the energy of 50 megatons of TNT.
Kristiansen said Poseidon amounts to “going in and blowing up a harbor with the purpose of blanketing a coastal area with radiation to make it uninhabitable” in a “blatant violation on the international laws of war, which require them to avoid collateral damage.”
In addition to its destructive potential, Poseidon has been designed to avoid American missile defense systems, according to Russian defense ministry officials.
“As its main advantage, the Poseidon is actually 100% invulnerable to enemy counter-measures. The drone’s unique capabilities will enable the Russian Navy to fight carrier-led and surface action groups of a potential enemy in any areas of the oceanic theater of operations and strike coastal infrastructure facilities at an intercontinental distance,” the Russian defense ministry said.
Putin and Trump have both said they discussed the future of nuclear treaties between the United States and Russia in Helsinki, but there is no way to verify this as only a translator was present.
Following the Helsinki meeting, Putin reaffirmed Russia’s commitment to extending the New START treaty, which is set to expire in 2021.
“I reassured President Trump that Russia stands ready to extend this treaty, to prolong it, but we have to agree on the specifics at first because we have some questions to our American partners,” Putin told Chris Wallace in an interview on Fox News. “We think that they are not fully compliant with the treaty, but this is for experts to decide.”
Poseidon wasn’t the only advanced weapon Russia has admitted to testing. The Russian defense ministry also announced tests of a “Peresvet high-powered laser weapons system” and a hypersonic Kinzhal nuclear cruise missile. TASS reported that Kinzhal has an “unlimited range” and is “invincible to all the existing and advanced air and missile defense systems.”