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'Russia tests long-range ballistic missiles'

world Updated: Oct 12, 2008 15:32 IST
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Russia test-fired three intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) on Sunday, including two from submarines patrolling on opposite ends of the sprawling country, news agencies reported.

One missile was test-fired from a submarine in the Sea of Okhotsk north of Japan, another from a submarine in the Barents Sea east of Norway and a third from Plesetsk in northwest Russia, the reports said.

The first flew thousands of kilometres (miles) west and successfully hit a target in northwest Russia while the other two flew a similar distance east and hit targets on the Kamchatka peninsula, the reports said.

President Dmitry Medvedev, who watched another ICBM submarine test-launch from aboard an aircraft carrier on Saturday, was on hand for Sunday's Plesetsk launch and said the tests showed Russia's missile defences were strong.

"This shows that our shield is in order," RIA Novosti quoted Medvedev as saying after he supervised the launch of a Topol missile from the secret Plesetsk launch site in northwestern Russia.

He said Russia planned across-the-board strengthening of its armed forces' through enhanced combat readiness and new weapons systems.

"We will of course be introducing into the military new types of forces and means," RIA Novosti quoted him as saying.

"But naturally we will also continue to carry out launches of traditional ballistic missiles that equip our armed forces," Medvedev said.

He did not elaborate on what kinds of new systems were being planned.

Russia has strenuously opposed US plans to set up new missile defences in former Warsaw Pact members Poland and the Czech Republic and has vowed to respond to the US move with new strategic defence measures of its own.

The Sineva missile test-fired Saturday from a submarine in the Barents Sea flew more than 11,500 kilometres (7,145 miles) before hitting a target in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

The Russian president claimed that it set an all-time distance record for a strategic missile.

"It's the best result ever obtained by anyone," said Medvedev after Saturday's test.