Russia is working on the third stage of developing and designing the Sarmat heavy intercontinental ballistic missile. An official said the tests are expected to start in 18 to 24 months.

The Sarmat heavy ICBM will replace the current Voyevoda ICBM in the Russian Strategic Missile Force, known to NATO as SS-18 Satan. Union of Geopolitics Chairman Konstantin Sivkov said the SS-18 Satan is among the outdated missiles in the Russian arsenal.

Sivkov said the Russian armed forces would get Yars-type missiles. The outdated ones include the MR-UR-100, which is from the 1970s. The R-36M2 Voyevoda, or Satan SS-18, will be removed from service partially as well. Sivkov earlier told Pravda, “They will be replaced with the new Sarmat missile, the performance of which will be equal to that of Satan.”

Russia has been critical of U.S. policy regarding the storage of heavy weapons in several Eastern European nations and the Baltic states. According to Washington, it is an attempt to ease the insecurity caused by the Russian intervention in Ukraine as well as the annexation of Crimea.

The Kremlin, however, called the decision “the most aggressive step by the Pentagon and NATO” since the Cold War. According to a senior official, it leaves Russia with no other choice but to strengthen its western border with more missiles, airplanes, artillery, tanks and troops.

Aide to the Strategic Missile Force Commander Igor Denisov confirmed Tuesday Russia would reach the testing stage for the heavy missile in the next 18-24 months. He added the development and design work was underway, the government's Tass news agency reported.

President Vladimir Putin has said Russia will deploy more than 40 nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of overcoming any missile defense system. The Japan Times reported the current political situation between Russia and the United States could revive the Cold War.