Russia successfully test-fired an RS-24 Yars intercontinental ballistic missile from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome, north of Moscow, its second nuclear missile in 10 days, as the Zapad war games in Belarus came to a close.
The country’s defense minister said the main purpose of the launch was to confirm the reliability of rockets of the same class. “The warheads successfully reached their target – the Kura testing range in Kamchatka. All aims of the test were achieved,” the Russian defense ministry said in a statement.
The RS-24 Yars, an improved version of the previous Topol-M, has a range of 12,000 kilometers. It was first tested in 2007 and was adopted by Russian Strategic Missile Forces in 2010.
The Daily Mail reports:
“Yars missiles can be maneuvered in flight to avoid defense systems, while deploying decoys to throw off any incoming rockets. Once outside the earth’s atmosphere, a re-entry vehicle rains the nuclear warheads down to earth with yet more decoys to stop them being destroyed.”
The exercise didn’t go down well with Russia’s neighbors. NATO chiefs, warning the tests could be a dry-run for an attack on Europe, launched the Dragon-17 war games with Poland in response.
On its part, the United States claimed the Russians had breached an agreement of reducing the nuclear warheads, which was renewed in the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty in 2010.