- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 26, 2017

MOSCOW (AP) - The Russian military on Tuesday test-fired an intercontinental ballistic missile and also launched drills involving missile units in Siberia.

The Defense Ministry said a Topol ICBM was launched from the Kapustin Yar launch facility in southwestern Russia, and its practice warhead successfully hit a designated target at the Sary-Shagan firing range in Kazakhstan. The ex-Soviet neighbors have close economic and military ties.

The ministry said the missile test was part of efforts to develop new technologies for piercing missile defenses, but gave no specifics.

Russia long has voiced concern about NATO’s U.S.-led missile defense plans, which it described as a threat to its security, and pledged to deploy weapons capable of penetrating it.

In a separate development, the military also launched large-scale maneuvers in Siberia involving the Yars missile launchers along with support vehicles. It said 4,000 troops will be involved.

The Yars, the most advanced nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles in the Russian military arsenal, is mounted on a heavy truck, making it more difficult for an enemy to spot and destroy it. The ministry said the exercise will involve the missiles’ deployment and feature action to protect them from enemy scouts and precision strikes.

The drills come a week after Russia and Belarus wrapped up their massive weeklong war games that caused jitters in some NATO countries, including Poland and the Baltics.

The Russian military has intensified its combat training amid tensions with NATO over Ukraine.

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