Russian submarine tests intercontinental missiles

A Russian nuclear submarine has tested four intercontinental missiles in the Sea of Okhotsk on the Pacific Ocean, the Defence Ministry said on Saturday.

The missiles were fired from the Vladimir Monomakh and hit targets more than 5,500 kilometers away at a firing range in north-western Russia, according to the ministry.

The test completes large-scale nuclear exercises, according to Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, who notified President Vladimir Putin.

Such maneuvres are seen by observers as a demonstration of strength by Russia.

The test comes amid ongoing negotiations over the future of the New START nuclear arms reduction treaty, the last major nuclear disarmament agreement between Russia and the United States.

Disarmament treaty

New START limits the number of nuclear ballistic missile launchers to 800 and operational nuclear warheads to 1,550. The treaty is the last major disarmament treaty between the two powers.

It expires early in February next year. Without it, there would be no agreement governing stocks of strategic nuclear weapons for the first time in decades.

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), an independent think tank, the two nuclear heavyweights jointly possess about 90% of the world’s nuclear weapons.

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