Russia is flexing its military muscles by firing warning shots at a Royal Navy ship and has now unveiled its latest weapon – a whopping 600ft-long submarine.

The new Belgorod sub is a deep-sea monster featuring robotic arms to cut underwater cables and is armed with nuclear Poseidon torpedoes.

Vladimir Putin’s regime has already been accused of using deadly nerve agents to carry out assassinations and has been linked to the development of hypersonic nukes, combat robots and even death rays.

But the nation has been shelling out wild weapons for more than a century as James Moore reveals…

Plane crazy: Designed in the 1970s and dubbed the “Caspian Sea Monster”, the Lun-class Ekranoplan was bigger than a jumbo jet and faster than a ship.

With awesome engines and armed with deadly anti-ship ­missiles, it was designed to glide on a cushion of air 13ft above the water so it could go undetected by the enemy. But only one was ever built and it’s now being turned into a museum.

Spaced out: Another bizarre craft developed by the Soviet Union was the MiG-105 – a space fighter. Nicknamed “Lapot”, ­because it looked like a traditional Russian shoe, plans for the snub-nosed plane to take the Cold War extraterrestrial in the 1960s were parked due to a lack of funding.

Gun-believable: During the 1950s, the Soviet Union developed a madcap mobile artillery piece with a whopping 65ft gun barrel. This was capable of firing 420mm shells and nuclear weapons. Although prototypes of the 2B1 Oka were built, the idea was ditched when the hefty recoil proved damaging.

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Snow joke: Often having to fight in freezing conditions, the Red Army developed the Aerosani, a sort of tank on sleds. Powered by an aircraft motor and propellor, it was fitted with machine guns and used during World War Two, speeding its crew over icy wastes while spitting fire.

Totally tanked: During World War One, the Russians built the Tsar Tank, which looked like a mutated penny farthing. It had two 30ft wheels designed to plough over obstacles. Instead, the 60-ton giant kept getting stuck and the design was eventually scrapped.

Other junked ideas ­included a tank with corkscrews instead of treads and the Antonov A-40 – basically a flying tank with biplane wings.

Freaky firing: In the Cold War, the KGB and the Bulgarian Secret Service teamed up to ­produce a lethal umbrella with a secret pneumatic shooting mechanism that injected a poisonous ricin pellet. It was used to assassinate writer Georgi Markov in London in 1978.

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Soviet agents also designed a lipstick gun for female spies which fired one 4.5mm bullet and also a spray gun that fired a jet of cyanide, which was successfully used to kill targets.

Animal antics: During World War Two, the Soviets trained dogs strapped with explosives to run under enemy German tanks, destroying 300 of them. A bear called Wojtek was also used to carry ammunition during the Battle of Monte Cassino in Italy, being awarded the rank of corporal.

The Russian military has also trained dolphins to attack enemy frogmen with harpoons as well as carry out kamikaze-style raids on shipping.

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