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Russia has said it successfully test-launched an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of carrying nuclear warheads from one of its submarines.
Sunday’s launch comes just days after Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the withdrawal of its ratification of the global nuclear test ban treaty in a move Moscow argued was needed to bring it into line with the United States.
“The new nuclear-powered strategic missile submarine cruiser Emperor Alexander the Third has successfully launched the Bulava sea-based intercontinental ballistic missile,” Russia’s defence ministry said in a statement on Sunday.
The missile, which the Federation of American Scientists says is designed to carry as many as six nuclear warheads, was launched from an underwater position in the White Sea off Russia’s northern coast and hit a target thousands of kilometres away on the Kamchatka peninsula in the Russian Far East.
The Emperor Alexander the Third is one of Russia’s new Borei-class nuclear submarines that carry 16 Bulava missiles each and are more manoeuvrable and quieter than previous models.
Intended to be the core naval component of the nation’s nuclear forces, the Russian navy currently has three Borei-class submarines in service, one more is finishing tests and three others are under construction, according to the defence ministry.
“Firing a ballistic missile is the final element of state tests, after which a decision will be made to accept the cruiser into the Navy,” the ministry statement said.