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Putin oversees maneuvers of Russian nuclear forces

Updated at: 10/30/2013 11:35 AM
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(AP) MOSCOW - President Vladimir Putin oversaw a massive exercise of Russia’s nuclear forces Wednesday that involved multiple test launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles, a formidable demonstration of Russia’s resurgent military power.

"All launches were conducted as required. All practice targets were hit," the Kremlin said in a terse statement.

In addition to strategic nuclear forces, the maneuvers involved aerospace defense units and the air force and navy, the Kremlin said.

The Defense Ministry said the exercise saw the launch of two intercontinental ballistic missiles, an RS-12M Topol missile from the Plesetsk space launch pad in northwestern Russia and a RS-20V Voyevoda missile from its base in the Orenburg region in the southern Ural Mountains. It said the missiles successfully hit their practice targets on the far eastern Kamchatka Peninsula.

It said that two other ICBMs were launched by nuclear-powered submarines of the Northern and Pacific Fleets.

In addition to launches of ICBMs, the maneuvers involved test launches of the S-300 and S-400 air defense missiles at a testing range in the Astrakhan region in southern Russia, the Defense Ministry said.

The drills also saw a rare launch of an interceptor missile that successfully hit a target imitating a ballistic missile at a testing range in Kazakhstan.

Russia has launched a major military modernization effort, and military maneuvers have become increasingly frequent and have grown in scale.

In July, the military launched the biggest war games in more than two decades that involved 160,000 troops, about 5,000 tanks, more than 100 aircraft and dozens of navy ships.

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)