Tue, Oct 14, 2008 - Page 1 News List

Russia shows muscle with missiles

COLD WAR NOSTALGIA Two of the missiles were fired from nuclear submarines, while a third was watched by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in the northwest

AFP , MOSCOW

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev stands next to an intercontinental ballistic missile before its launch from the Plesetsk cosmodrome in northern Russia on Sunday. 

PHOTO: AP

Russia fired three long-range missiles on Sunday and pronounced its nuclear deterrent strong in an extraordinary show of force experts said had not been seen anywhere since the Cold War.

Two of the missiles were fired from nuclear submarines in the Asian and European extremes of the sprawling country while a third was watched by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on land in northwest Russia, news agencies reported.

It was the second Russian intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test in as many days and the latest in a series of high-profile military exercises of conventional land, sea and air forces as well as strategic nuclear units.

“This shows that our deterrent is in order,” Medvedev was quoted by RIA Novosti news agency as saying after Sunday’s missile launches.

“We will of course be introducing new types of forces and means into the military,” he said, without elaborating.

Independent military analyst Pavel Felgenhauer said the exercises reflected Russia’s determination to prepare for major conflict.

“This was a dry run for a war with the United States,” Felgenhauer said of the missile launches, part of major military maneuvers billed “Stability 2008,” involving all military branches.

“These are the biggest strategic war games in more than 20 years. They are on a parallel with those held in the first half of the 1980s. Nothing of the sort has been seen either in Russia or the United States since then,” he said.

Russian navy spokesman Igor Dygalo confirmed the test-launches from submarines in the Sea of Okhotsk north of Japan and the Barents Sea northeast of Norway.

“The missiles hit right on target,” he said.

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