Russia said it had successfully test-fired an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile on Tuesday, with tensions high over its seizure of control in the Crimea and its threat to send more forces to its neighbour Ukraine.
The Strategic Rocket Forces launched an RS-12M Topol missile from the southerly Astrakhan region near the Caspian Sea and the dummy warhead hit its target at a proving ground in Kazakhstan, the state-run news agency RIA cited Defence Ministry spokesman Igor Yegorov as saying.
The move follows Russia’s decision to send troops into the eastern Ukraine region of Crimea, claiming the lives of ethnic Russians living there were threatened by the political disorder in Ukraine.
News of the launch followed the first comments from Russian president Vladimir Putin since Russian forces entered eastern Ukraine. …
Speaking defiantly at an hour-long, unscripted news conference in Moscow at which he described events in Ukraine as an “unconstitutional coup,” Mr Putin denied that Russian troops had occupied Crimea and laid blame for the crisis on the United States, which he said had interfered in Ukraine “from across the pond in America as if they were sitting in a laboratory and running experiments on rats, without any understanding of the consequences.”
Clearly furious, Mr Putin delivered a version of the crisis almost entirely at odds with the view held by most officials in Europe and the United States, as well as by many Ukrainians. He described anti-government protests in Kiev as an “orgy” of radicals and nationalists, noting a swastika armband that he had glimpsed in images of the crowd. He also insisted that ousted President Viktor Yanukovych had never ordered security forces to shoot protesters, suggesting that snipers stationed on rooftops “may have been provocateurs from opposition parties.”
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