Russia said today that it has successfully completed a test fire of an intercontinental ballistic missile. The nation’s Strategic Rocket Forces launched the RS-12M Topol missile from its base in the southern part of Astrakhan not far from the Caspian Sea, reports The Sydney Morning Herald. The dummy missile successfully hit its target at a proving ground located in Kazakhstan, according to Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Yegorov.
Putin speaks on Ukraine crisis
This morning, Russian President Vladimir Putin broke his silence on the situation, saying that they would “use all means” at their disposal to protect the Russian speakers who live in the country’s south and east if they feel they are in danger. However, he said the crisis would not advance into war. He called the series of events in the Ukraine as an “unconstitutional coup” and said Russian troops have not occupied the Crimea region. News reports indicated that they moved into the area on Sunday.
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Russia at odds with the West
Putin’s comments also painted the opposite picture of how the U.S. and Europe and even Ukrainians see the situation in the Ukraine. He blamed the U.S., saying that it had interfered in the Ukraine and that ousted Russian ally President Viktor Yanukovych didn’t order authorities to shoot anti-government protesters in Kiev. He suggested instead that snipers “from opposition parties” may have been to blame for the shootings.
The U.S. has accused Moscow of an “act of aggression” in Ukraine. However, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on his visit to Kiev that the new government’s “restraint” should be praised. The Ukranian government seized power after Yanukovych was ousted.
Russia’s test was pre-reported
Fox News reports that Moscow’s missile test had not been unexpected and that “START treaty notification occurred.” This reflects the requirement that Russia notify the U.S. that it will conduct a test. However, officials did not indicate how much of a notice Moscow gave regarding the test.
Russian officials said earlier this year that they would test about 70 different types of missile and rocket weapons, including approximately 300 rocket, missile and drone launches.