U.S. plays down Russian missile launch

The U.S. played down a Russian launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile on Tuesday as the two sides face-off over a crisis in Ukraine. 

"This was a previously notified and routine test launch of an ICBM,” National Security Council spokeswoman 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.”

The launch comes at a tense time, just days after Russian forces took over military installations in Crimea following a revolution in Ukraine. 

The RS-12M missile was fired from Russia’s southerly Astrakhan region, just 280 miles east of the Ukrainian border and hit its target in Kazakhstan, Reuters reported.