Russia test-fires ICBM amid tension over Ukraine

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia said it had successfully test-fired an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) on Tuesday, with tensions running high over its military intervention in Ukraine’s Crimea region.

A U.S. official said the United States had received proper notification from Russia ahead of the test and that the initial notification pre-dated the crisis in Crimea. The Russian Defence Ministry could not be reached for comment.

The Strategic Rocket Forces launched an RS-12M Topol missile from the southerly Astrakhan region and the dummy warhead hit its target at a proving ground in Kazakhstan, Defence Ministry spokesman Igor Yegorov told state-run news agency RIA.

Russia conducts test launches of its ICBMs fairly frequently and often announces the results, a practice seen as intended to remind the West of Moscow’s nuclear might and reassure Russians that President Vladimir Putin will protect them.

Russia and the United States signed the latest of a series of treaties restricting the numbers of ICBMs in 2010, but Moscow has indicated it will agree further cuts in the near future and is taking steps to upgrade its nuclear arsenal.

Putin has emphasised that Russia must maintain a strong nuclear deterrent, in part because of an anti-missile shield the United States is building in Europe which Moscow says could undermine its security.

Full article: Russia test-fires ICBM amid tension over Ukraine (Yahoo!)

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