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Russia conducts test-launch of ballistic missile

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today carried out a successful test-launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile, news agencies reported citing the defence ministry, amid a standoff between Moscow and the West over Ukraine.

Interfax and ITAR-TASS quoted the defence ministry as saying a successful test of the RS-12M Topol ICBM had been carried out from Russia's Kapustin Yar rocket launch site near the Caspian Sea at 2238 (1708 GMT).

The missile hit its target in the Sary Shagan ballistic missile test range that Russia leases in Kazakhstan, it said.

"The purpose of the launch was to test a prospective warhead of intercontinental ballistic missiles," Interfax quoted defence ministry spokesman Igor Yegorov as saying, without providing further details.

Russia reportedly carried out previous tests in December and March of the RS-12M Topol, a road-mobile missile first put into service in the 1980s and then repeatedly modified.

It is referred to as the SS-25 Sickle by and has a reported maximum range of 10,000 kilometres.

Russia earlier this month test-launched several ballistic missions during military exercises overseen by President Vladimir Putin.

The tests have been conducted amid a continued standoff between Russia and the West over Ukraine, where Moscow seized the Crimean peninsula in March and pro-Russian rebels have taken control of parts of the east of the country.

Tensions seem to have eased in recent days however, ahead of a presidential vote on Sunday aimed at bringing Ukraine out of crisis.

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