With everything these days being done in the context of the crisis in the Ukraine, Russia announced a successful test of the RS-12M Topol ICBM in Astrakhan, near the Caspian Sea. The missile hit a target at a test site in Kazakhstan.
Russia has been testing improved ICBMs as a way of countering the growing missile defense shield the US has been building along their frontier in Europe. The US insists the shield targets Iran, but it is mostly on Russia’s border, and outside of the range of Iran’s best missiles.
Pentagon officials downplayed the test, saying they were given all the advanced notice required by treaties, and that the launch was “not unexpected.” The RS-12M Topol is a nuclear-capable missile.
The RS-12M was first put into service in 1985, and continues to undergo regular tests to extend its service life. The most recent previous test was in October of 2012, and was successful as well.