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Russia gave prior notice of missile test: US official

Published on Mar 5, 2014 6:19 AM
 
Russian Topol-M intercontinental ballistic misiles rolling at the Red Square in Moscow during the Victory Day military parade on May 9, 2010. Russia informed the United States in advance that it would carry out a test launch on Tuesday of an intercontinental ballistic missile, a US defense official said. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Russia informed the United States in advance that it would carry out a test launch on Tuesday of an intercontinental ballistic missile, a US defense official said.

"We have been notified of this test earlier this week. It's not unexpected," the 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 the US official declined to comment on the effect of the missile test on Russia's relations with the West.

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 official said.

The missile has a reported maximum range of 6,200 miles (10,000 kilometres).

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.