The test was planned ahead of time and, in accordance the START treaty, Russia reported the launch to the US ahead of time, prior to the crisis in Crimea. The missile fired was a Russian RS-12M Topol which looks like the above and has a range of 6,000 miles, 25% of the circumference of the Earth. Both Russia and the U.S. conduct these tests occasionally. However, many have viewed the timing as suspicious and more likely to heighten tensions given the test occurred as US Secretary of State John Kerry was visiting with the Ukrainian transitional government in Kiev.
Naturally, people were concerned about it given the seeming confrontation between Russia and the West over the situation in Ukraine.
And some were funny.
The test launch’s flight plan led over the Caspian Sea from Kapustin Yar in the Astrakhan region in southern Russia:
And struck a target somewhere Kazakhstan.
According to NBC News, U.S. Defense officials called the launch “suspicious but not threatening.”
“This was a previously notified and routine test launch of an ICBM,” National Security Council spokesperson Caitlin Hayden said in a statement.
“As required under the New START Treaty, Russia provided advance notification of this launch to the United States,” she said. “Such advance notifications are intended to provide transparency, confidence, and predictability and to help both sides avoid misunderstandings. Russia and the United States routinely flight test their ICBMs and SLBMs.”
Hillary Clinton Compares Russia to Nazi Germany
Clinton made the comments at a Boys and Girls Club fundraiser in Long Beach, California, in regards to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s stated concern for the well being of ethnic Russians living in Ukraine.
“Now if this sounds familiar, it’s what Hitler did back in the 30s,” she said. “All the Germans that were … the ethnic Germans, the Germans by ancestry who were in places like Czechoslovakia and Romania and other places, Hitler kept saying they’re not being treated right. I must go and protect my people and that’s what’s gotten everybody so nervous.”
Putin is a man “who believes his mission is to restore Russian greatness,” Clinton said.
That includes reasserting control of what used to be countries under the former Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact, she said.
“When he looks at Ukraine, he sees a place that he believes is by its very nature part of Mother Russia.”
The comments initially became public after Harry Saltzgaver, executive editor of a Long Beach newspaper group, discussed Clinton’s comments at the event with a Buzzfeed staff member apparently not believing he would be publicly quoted. He was. Said Saltgaver:
“I did not expect to be quoted and start a firestorm here,” he said “The discussion was not meant to be a press conference.”
No word yet on why Clinton compared Putin’s supposed intentions to Hitler’s instead of just comparing them to Joseph Stalin’s which would have been far more accurate.
Putin Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize
Putin was initially considered for the prize as a result of his efforts to prevent a U.S. bombing campaign in Syria after the Assad regime there was accused of gassing members and allies of the Free Syrian Army as well as civilians in late Summer 2013. Putin’s intervention, it is believed, kept the conflict in Syria from widening by preventing direct U.S. military engagement. However, given Russia’s apparent occupation of Crimea in Ukraine, the Nobel Institute says it will be taking recent events into account.
“Part of the purpose of the committee’s first meeting is to take into account recent events, and committee members try to anticipate what could be the potential developments in political hotspots,” said the Norwegian Nobel Institute’s director, Geir Lundestad.
“The dramatic situation in which Ukraine finds itself could influence the Nobel committee’s thoughts, but at this stage I don’t see any clear candidates standing out,” he told AFP.
Here’s what a launch of the Russian RS-12M Topol ICBM looks like: