Russia test-fires ballistic missile to mid-Pacific
Russia test-launched a strategic missile to the equatorial part of the Pacific Ocean for the first time on Saturday, at a time when Moscow's growing assertiveness is fuelling tension with the West, Rreuters reported.
President Dmitry Medvedev, who watched the launch from the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov, has said problems caused by global financial turmoil would not hurt Russian plans to revive its armed forces, a symbol for Moscow's resurgence.
Russia's newest missile, the Sineva, was launched by the nuclear-powered submarine Tula from an underwater position in the Arctic Barents Sea, and hit an unspecified area near the equator in the Pacific Ocean, a navy spokesman said.
"For the first time in the history of the Russian Navy the target of the missile was in an equatorial part of the Pacific Ocean rather than the Kura testing ground on the Kamchatka Peninsula," he said.
Russian television showed the missile emerging from the icy waters of the Arctic Barents sea for the 11,547 km ( 7,200 miles) journey to the Pacific.
"Not one missile of this class has ever flown so far," Russian television showed Medvedev telling sailors.
The spokesman did not specify the area where the missile landed. He said the area was closed for navigation and flights ahead of the test in accordance with international rules.
Medvedev's predecessor Vladimir Putin focused on reviving the armed forces, which were neglected for around 10 years after the fall of the Soviet Union.
Russia's strategic bombers have restarted regular patrols over the Atlantic Ocean, irking NATO, and a group of the Northern Fleet ships is on its way to the Caribbean to take part in joint exercises with U.S. foe Venezuela. Two Russian warships and their support vessels docked in Tripoli ahead of making the transatlantic trip.