Russia’s military conducted a series of intercontinental ballistic missile tests on Wednesday, the latest flexing of its muscles as tensions with the US spike over Syria. Russian forces fired a nuclear-capable rocket from a Pacific Fleet submarine in the Sea of Okhotsk north of Japan, state-run RIA Novosti reported. A Topol missile was shot off from a submarine in the Barents Sea, and a third was launched from an inland site in the north-west of the vast country, Russian agencies reported. The latest display of might by Moscow – which has been conducting regular military drills since ties with the West slumped in 2014 over Ukraine – comes as tensions have shot up in recent days.
Russia has pulled the plug on a series of deals with the US – including a symbolic disarmament pact between the two nuclear powers to dispose of weapons-grade plutonium – as Washington has halted talks on Syria. The Kremlin has also moved an air defence missile system and missile cruisers to the war-ravaged country to bolster its forces there.
That comes as the West has accused Moscow of committing potential war crimes in its bombing of rebel-held part of the city of Aleppo in support of an assault by regime forces. Washington has previously lashed out at Moscow for resorting to alleged “nuclear sabre-rattling” as East-West relations fell to the worst level since the Cold War following Russia’s seizure of Crimea from Ukraine in March 2014.