MOSCOW, March 4 (RIA Novosti) – Russia test-fired an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) from a test site in southern Russia on Tuesday evening, a Russian defense ministry spokesman said.
Kapustin Yar is about 450 km (280 miles) east of the Ukrainian border. The launch coincided with reports of large deployments of apparently Russia-commanded troops in Crimea, which President Vladimir Putin denied on Tuesday.
Spokesman Igor Yegorov said the launch took place at 22:10 Moscow time (6:10 p.m. GMT) from the Kapustin Yar testing range in southern Russia’s Astrakhan Region.
The test was successful as the simulated warhead hit a designated target at a test range in Kazakhstan.
Yegorov said the aim of the test was to test suggested improvements of the ICBM, which entered service in 1985.
A Defense Ministry spokesman said in early January that the Russian military plans to test around 70 types of rocket and missile weaponry at Kapustin Yar this year.
The testing program at the Kapustin Yar range in southern Russia will include about 300 launches of rockets, missiles, and aerial drones as part of more than 180 R&D projects, said Colonel Igor Yegorov.
The range is located in the Astrakhan region between the cities of Volgograd and Astrakhan. It is known for tests of Iskander-M tactical ballistic missiles, S-300 and S-400 air defense systems and Smerch multiple-launch rocket systems.
The RS-12M Topol (NATO reporting name SS-25 Sickle) is a single-warhead intercontinental ballistic missile that has a maximum range of 10,000 kilometers (6,125 miles) and can carry a nuclear warhead with a yield of up to 550 kilotons.