Russia successfully test-fires second nuclear missile to end huge war games in eastern Europe as NATO and Poland launch their own military drills over ‘security fears’

Thursday, September 21, 2017
By Paul Martin

Russian Defense Ministry said it test-fired RS-24 Yars ballistic missile Wednesday
ICBM launched from Plesetsk Cosmodrome, north of Moscow, and flew more than 3,600 miles before dud warheads hit target in far eastern Russia
Launch came at the end of the huge Zapad 2017 war games in eastern Europe
Poland and NATO launched the joint Dragon-17 military drills in response, which will simulate the 2014 Russian annexation of Crimea

21 September 2017

Russia successfully test-fired its second nuclear missile in 10 days on Wednesday as the Zapad war games in Belarus came to a close.

The country’s defense ministry said it fired an RS-24 Yars intercontinental ballistic missile from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome, north of Moscow, which struck a target 3,600 miles away on the Kura testing range with dud warheads.

The launch brought the Zapad games to a close, which involved up to 100,000 Russian and Belarusian troops performing drills in eastern Europe.

NATO chiefs had warned the exercises could be a dry-run for an attack on Europe, and on Thursday launched the Dragon-17 war games with Poland in response.

The exercise will involve some 17,000 land, air force and navy troops and 3,500 units of equipment and will run through September 29.

For the first time the biannual drill is being joined by Poland’s new Territorial Defense Forces, which train civilian volunteers to support regular troops.

Cybersecurity is also being tested after a wave of online attacks across Europe that have been widely blamed on Moscow.

The scenario aims to mirror Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea, with NATO and Polish forces playing the role of defenders.

Other participating nations are NATO members Britain, Lithuania, Latvia, Germany, Slovakia, Italy, Bulgaria, Romania, as well as partner nations Georgia and Ukraine.

Video of the launch shows a mobile launcher being erected before the missile is fired into the sky.

Poland’s Deputy Defense Minister Michal Dworczyk said he fears Putin may leave some military units in Belarus following Zapad – which means West in Russian.

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