Russia has tested a new type of ballistic missile at the same time as warning the West that deployment of any missile shield would turn Europe into a “powder keg”.
Moscow said the missile travelled 6000 kilometres before hitting its target at the Kura test site north of Japan.
It was carrying multiple warheads designed to specifically evade a missile shield.
President Vladimir Putin says he told the visiting Portugese Prime Minister his concern at present relations with the west. He drew attention to the fact that certain countries had not signed the Conventional Forces Treaty limiting military build-up in Europe, and reiterated his opposition to the American plans.
Up to now Washington has dismissed Russia’s fears about the planned installation, insisting it only wants to protect itself against attacks from “rogue states”.
It has continued to talk to key eastern European countries, such as Poland and the Czech Republic, about the possible provision of faciltiies.
The test firing follows a trip by Putin himself to those key countries to underline his displeasure at the proposals.
The new missile would apparently be capable of hitting the east coast of America, if fired from Moscow, in less than an hour.