Putin over­sees Rus­sia’s hy­per­sonic weapons test

The Tribune (SLO) - - Insight - BY VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV

Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin over­saw a test Wed­nes­day of a new hy­per­sonic glide ve­hi­cle, declar­ing that the weapon is im­pos­si­ble to in­ter­cept and will en­sure Rus­sia’s se­cu­rity for decades to come.

Speak­ing to Rus­sia’s top mil­i­tary brass after watch­ing the live feed of the launch of the Avan­gard ve­hi­cle from the De­fense Min­istry’s con­trol room, Putin said the suc­cess­ful test was a “great suc­cess” and an “ex­cel­lent New Year’s gift to the na­tion.”

The test comes amid bit­ter ten­sions in Rus­sia- U.S. re­la­tions, which have sunk to their low­est level since the Cold War times over the con­flict in Ukraine, the war in Syria and the al­le­ga­tions of Rus­sian med­dling in the 2016 U.S. pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

Putin’s hopes for re­pair­ing ties with Wash­ing­ton un­der Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump have fiz­zled amid in­ves­ti­ga­tions into al­le­ga­tions of Trump’s cam­paign ties with Rus­sia, and ten­sions have es­ca­lated as the U.S. ad­min­is­tra­tion slapped Rus­sia with new waves of sanc­tions.

The Avan­gard was among the ar­ray of new nu­clear weapons that Putin pre­sented in March, say­ing that Rus­sia had to de­velop them in re­sponse to the de­vel­op­ment of the U.S. mis­sile de­fense sys­tem that could erode Rus­sia’s nu­clear de­ter­rent.

In Wed­nes­day’s test, the weapon was launched from the Dom­barovskiy mis­sile base in the south­ern Ural Moun­tains. The Krem­lin said it suc­cess­ful- ly hit a des­ig­nated prac­tice tar­get on the Kura shoot­ing range on Kam­chatka, 3,700 miles away.

“The Avan­gard is in­vul­ner­a­ble to in­ter­cept by any ex­ist­ing and prospec­tive mis­sile de­fense means of the po­ten­tial ad­ver­sary,” Putin said.

Pool photo via AP

Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin and mil­i­tary of­fi­cials watch the test launch of the Avan­gard hy­per­sonic glide ve­hi­cle from the De­fense Min­istry's con­trol room in Mos­cow on Wed­nes­day.

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