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Russia Successfully Tests New-Generation Ballistic Missile

DW staff (ls)
September 19, 2008

Russia has test-fired its newest missile in the midst of tense political times: Russian anger over a US missile shield and Washington's condemnation of Moscow's behavior in Georgia make for a frosty relationship.

Russian Topol intercontinental ballistic missiles roll in the annual Victory Day parade at the Moscow Red Square, on Friday, May 9, 2008
Russia's latest launch is unlikely to improve its testy relationship with the USImage: AP

In a statement from the navy on Thursday, Sept. 19, Russia said that "a new-generation Bulava ballistic missile was successfully fired from the White Sea to the Kura testing site in Kamchatka" in Russia's far eastern region.

With a range of 8,000 kilometers (5,000 miles), the Bulava can be equipped with up to 10 individually targeted nuclear warheads.

The missile test-fire comes during a time when US-Russia relations have hit a post Cold War low after Moscow's recent military intervention in Georgia. Washington harshly criticized the military move.

Russia, too, has recently expressed anger over US plans to establish a powerful missile-tracking reader in the Czech Republic as well as interceptor missiles in Poland.

Russia doubts US intentions

According to analysts, Russia is now beefing up its missile systems to counter the planned US shield in the region which it views as a tactical move by the US to deter Russia's nuclear activity.

Washington, however, maintains that the shield is too small to defend against Russia and is instead meant to protect against "rogues states" such as Iran.

The latest test launch also comes only three weeks after Russia test-fired the intercontinental Topol RS-12M missile.

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