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Russia successfully test-fires long-range missile amid tensions with US

A mobile Yars intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) armed with multiple warheads (file photo)

Russia has successfully test-launched an RS-24 Yars intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), amid ongoing tensions with the United States over long-running treaties that control development of new missiles.

Russia's military forces fired the armed thermonuclear missile from the Plesetsk spaceport in the Arkhangelsk Region in the country’s north to a firing range in the country's Far East, the Russian Defense Ministry confirmed on Wednesday.

"At 11:31 am Moscow time on February 6, a mobile Yars solid-propellant intercontinental ballistic missile armed with multiple warheads was test-fired from the Plesetsk state testing spaceport. The warheads arrived at the designated area at the Kura practice range on the Kamchatka Peninsula. The assignments were accomplished in full," the ministry said in a statement.

"The launch aimed to confirm the advanced missile system’s capabilities and flight characteristics," it added.

A modification of the Topol-M missile system, Yars has a maximum range of around 12,000 kilometers (7,500 miles).

The missile can be fired from mobile or silo-based launchers and deliver MIRV (multiple independently targetable vehicle) warheads to its targets. MIRV warheads allow the missile to deliver thermonuclear payload to different targets upon re-entry.

Upon the missile's introduction in 2007, Washington claimed it violated the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) with Soviet Union, which went into effect in 1991 and expired in 2009.

In 2010, Moscow and Washington signed the New START agreement, which required them to reduce their nuclear weapons. American officials claim that Yars is in violation of this agreement as well.

This is while, last year, the Pentagon contracted Boeing and a number of other American arms manufacturers to develop new ICBMs and nuclear-capable cruise missiles in a bid to replace the US Air Force’s ageing arsenal of strategic weapons.

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The test also follows a tit-for-tat move by Moscow in abandoning the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), a landmark Cold War-era arms control treaty that requires them to eliminate all their nuclear and conventional missiles with ranges of 1,000–5,500 km (620–3,420 mi).

Last week, Washington suspended the INF for 180 days and warned it would fully scrap the agreement unless Russia destroys all of its ground-launched cruise missiles known as 9M729, which the American military experts insist is in violation of the treaty.

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