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Russia tests new intercontinental missile

Russia successfully test-launched a new intercontinental ballistic missile on Tuesday, in the middle of a row with the United States, which plans to deploy components of its anti-ballistic missile system in central Europe.

The RS-24 missile blasted off from the Plesetsk space center about 800 km (500 miles) north of Moscow at 14:20 Moscow time (1020 GMT) and hit the target in Kamchatka, about 6,000 km away in the Far East, the Itar-Tass, Interfax and RIA news agencies reported.

When equipped with multiple independently targeted re-entry warheads, the missile can pierce through missile defense systems and would enhance Russia's potential nuclear deterrent when deployed, Russian strategic missile forces spokesman Vadim Koval was quoted as saying. On the same day, Russia tested a new short-range cruise missile for the mobile complex Iskander-M at the Kapustin Yar base in the southern Astrakhan Region, Itar-Tass said.

Such launchers will be put into service in 2009 and Russia will export them equipped with missiles with a range under 300 km, First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov was quoted as saying. The United States plans to deploy missile interceptors in Poland and radar units in the Czech Republic as part of a project to extend the missile defense system in Europe. Russia has voiced strong opposition over the plan. (