test-launches 'advanced' ballistic missile
Moscow (AFP) March 04, 2014 -
Russia on Tuesday carried out a successful test-launch of an
"advanced" intercontinental ballistic missile, state news agencies
reported amid a fierce standoff between Moscow and the West over
"The purpose of the launch
is to test the advanced payload of the intercontinental ballistic
missile," Russia's three main news agencies quoted a top defence
official as saying.
The defence official said the launch involved
the RS-12M Topol -- a road-mobile missile last reportedly tested by
Russia on December 28.
The missile was first put into service in the
1980s and then repeatedly modified. It is referred to as the SS-25
Sickle by NATO and has a reported maximum range of 10,000
kilometres (6,200 miles).
The defence official provided no details of
the missile's advanced features, saying only that it was launched
from Russia's Kapustin Yar rocket launch site near the southern
city of Volgograd.
The missile successfully hit its target in the
Sary Shagan ballistic missile test range that Russia leases in
Russia has been testing warheads that could
evade a missile defence shield the United States is deploying
together with NATO in Europe over Russia's strong objections.
The Russian defence official said the test was
designed to check the warhead's ability to "penetrate missile
The test was conducted amid a fierce standoff
between Russia and the West over Ukraine, whose Crimean peninsula
has been taken under de facto control by Kremlin-backed troops
since the February 22 ouster of Moscow-backed president Viktor
A US official said that Russia had notified
Washington of the missile test in advance.
"We have been notified of this test earlier
this week. It's not unexpected," the US defence official told AFP
on condition of anonymity.
Washington (AFP) - Russia informed the United States in advance that
it would carry out a launch Tuesday of an intercontinental ballistic
missile, US officials said, downplaying the test amid tensions with
The ICBM launch was routine and the US government was notified "before
the crisis started in Ukraine," a senior defense official, who spoke on
condition of anonymity, told AFP.
The test launch came at a moment of high tension between Russia and
the West over Ukraine, where the Crimean peninsula has been put under de
facto control by Kremlin-backed troops.
But US officials declined to comment on the effect of the missile test
on Russia's relations with Washington.
"This was a previously notified and routine test launch of an ICBM,"
said Caitlin Hayden, spokeswoman for the White House's National Security
"Such advance notifications are intended to provide transparency,
confidence, and predictability and to help both sides avoid
misunderstandings," she said in a statement.
Russia and the United States "routinely" stage flight tests for
ballistic missile fleets, she added.
In Moscow, a Russian defense official told state news agencies that
the launch involved the RS-12M Topol, a road-mobile missile last
reportedly tested by Russia on December 28.
The launch, carried out from a site near the southern city of
Volgograd, was supposed to test an advanced payload on the missile, the
The missile has a reported maximum range of 6,200 miles (10,000
Russia has been testing warheads that could evade a missile defense
system the United States is deploying together with NATO in Europe,
despite Moscow's strong objections.
NATO countries say the missile shield is designed to counter missile
threats from Iran, not Russia.