Russia Successfully Tests Ballistic Missile

Russia's (search) Strategic Missile Forces successfully test-fired a heavy intercontinental ballistic missile (search) on Wednesday from the Ural Mountains region to the Kamchatka Peninsula in the Far East, Russian news agencies reported.

It was the first time that an RS-20V Voevoda, which NATO (search) identifies as the SS-18 Satan, had been fired from Russia since the 1991 Soviet collapse, the ITAR-Tass news agency reported. The Interfax news agency said the missile had hit its target on a testing ground on Kamchatka, more than 6,000 kilometers (3,750 miles) to the East.

The RS-20 intercontinental ballistic missile is the heaviest in the inventory of Russia's strategic nuclear forces.

The Russian strategic forces have conducted regular test launches of Soviet-built ballistic missiles to check their readiness. The post-Soviet funding shortage has left the military struggling to extend the lifetime of Soviet-built missiles, since the government lacks the funds to quickly replace them with new weapons.