Russia’s test causes panic
MOSCOW / ISTANBUL
Russia’s Topol intercontinental ballistic missile launchers rolls during Victory Day parade at the Red Square in this photo. Russia test-fired a Topol-class missile and its sprial of light caused panic, reports say. AFP Photo
The Russian Defense Ministry announced that the country had successfully test-fired a Topol strategic intercontinental ballistic missile from a military field in Russia, with the missile reaching its target in Kazakhstan’s Saryshaghan missile test field.
The test was conducted to confirm the stability of the basic performance characteristics of this class of missile, according to the ministry. The ministry representatives stated that all of the objectives of the test launch were met and in particular, it was possible to obtain information that will be used in the future to develop the means to overcome missile defense systems.
The test came after NATO formally activated the first stage of a missile defense shield, whose deployment Russia has bitterly opposed out of fear that it may target its own vast nuclear arsenal. The test was conducted June 7 when Russian President Vladimir Putin met with his Kazakh counterpart Nursultan Nazarbayev in Beijing for an international summit and signed several documents in Astana on cooperation in different fields.
‘Good omen for Syrian opposition’
However, at the time the missile was tested a glowing spiral of light moving across the night sky caused panic across the Middle East. The moving light source left a luminous trail of dust in its wake and was seen in eastern Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan, as well as Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Israel.
Footage of the bright object uploaded to YouTube sparked UFO speculation, while others considered it “a good omen for the Syrian opposition.” Russia’s RIA Novosti agency later reported that the country’s Strategic Missile Forces had test-fired a Topol-class intercontinental ballistic missile from a ramp near the city of Astrakhan in southern Russia, 3,500 kilometers from Israel’s northern border where the light object was seen. Israeli Astronomical Association Chairman Yigal Pat-El said the missile “most likely spun out of control and its remnants and fuel was what people saw,” according to ynetnews’ website. The missile reached a height of 200-300 kilometers, Pat-El said. “That’s why it was seen from so many locations.”
Similar reports of an object that went spiraling and then disappeared in the skies above Norway’s northern town of Tromso emerged in 2009. The Russian Defense Ministry later admitted it was a failed launch of a Bulava intercontinental missile.