Russia says it has test-fired an intercontinental ballistic missile, as tension continues over Ukraine’s Crimea region.
A Topol RS-12M missile was launched from Russia’s Kapustin Yar test range near the Caspian Sea to the Sary Shagan range in Kazakhstan, it said.
It comes after the US accused Russia of an “act of aggression” in Crimea.
The US said it was given advance notice of the missile launch, as required by bilateral arms treaties.
The Topol was fired at 22:10 local time, the defense ministry in Moscow said, adding: “The aim of the launch was to test a promising intercontinental ballistic missile payload.”
The nuclear-capable missile reached its target successfully, it said.
Tests of the missile, one of Russia’s newest, are not unusual but the timing of the launch if confirmed, is likely to alarm observers of the crisis with Ukraine.
Moscow is in de facto control of the Crimean peninsula after troops thought to be Russian or pro-Russian took control of strategic points in recent days.
Troops are surrounding Ukrainian military bases and other installations, while two Ukrainian warships are reported to be blocked by a Russian ship in the port of Sevastopol.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has denied the troops are Russian, saying they are “local self-defense forces” loyal to Moscow, protecting the bases from “nationalists” and “anti-Semites”.
Vladimir Putin said Viktor Yanukovych, who was ousted as Ukraine’s president in late February after months of protest, remained the legitimate leader, though he admitted that he had “no political future”.
Kiev and the West have accused Russia of mounting an invasion of Crimea, which has a majority Russian-speaking population.
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