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Russian Navy Fires Ballistic Missile In Major Northern Fleet Exercises

Russian President Vladimir Putin (2nd R) and Russian Defence Minister Sergey Ivanov (L) watch the launch of a missile during military exercises in the Barents Sea aboard of 'Pyotr Veliky' nuclear missile cruiser 17 August 2005. A Russian nuclear submarine fired an intercontinental ballistic missile (IBM) as part of major exercises in the Barents Sea, ITAR-TASS news agency said. AFP photo / Itar-Tass / Presidential Press Service.

Moscow (AFP) Aug 17, 2005
A Russian nuclear submarine fired an intercontinental ballistic missile (IBM) Wednesday as part of major exercises in the Barents Sea attended by President Vladimir Putin, ITAR-TASS news agency said.

The RSM-54 missile was launched from a submerged Delfin-class submarine named Yekaterinburg to a range on the Kamchatka Peninsula thousands of kilometres (miles) to the east, the defence ministry was quoted as saying.

Two submarines, the Northern Fleet's flagship Pyotr Veliky cruiser and Russia's only aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov, as well as long-range aircraft, were taking part in the Barents Sea manoeuvres - the first of four exercises due to take place in August and September.

Putin, accompanied by Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov, was watching the naval war game after flying in Tuesday on a Tu-160 supersonic, long-range bomber. During the flight he broke the sound barrier and watched the firing of a cruise missile.

Particular attention was being paid to the Northern Fleet exercise following an embarrassing failure to successfully fire the RSM-54 missile during a similar war game attended by Putin last year.

On first attempt, a nuclear submarine was unable to launch the RSM-54, known in NATO code as SS-N-23, and a second missile had to be destroyed in mid-air after veering off course.

The navy is also in the spotlight following an international rescue effort earlier this month to save seven submariners trapped in a Russian mini-submarine on the Pacific Ocean floor.

On Thursday, major Russian-Chinese military exercises start.

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US Signals Thaw In 20-Year Military Standoff With New Zealand
Wellington (AFP) Aug 17, 2005
The United States has allowed New Zealand to take part in a joint military exercise this week, after a 20-year freeze in defence cooperation, but has refused to say Wednesday whether the approval signalled a wider thaw.







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