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US tips off Russia before nuke-capable missile launch

Unarmed Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missile launches Sept. 7, 2022 during an operational test. (U.S. Space Force/Released)
September 07, 2022

The U.S. military test-launched a nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on Wednesday, the Air Force confirmed in a statement. The launch took place after the U.S. gave Russia advance notice.

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According to Reuters, U.S. Air Force announced the ICBM test in advance in an effort to avoid worsening tensions with Russia as the Russia-Ukraine conflict rages on. 

“This test launch is part of routine and periodic activities intended to demonstrate that the United States’ nuclear deterrent is safe, secure, reliable and effective,” the Air Force’s statement read.

Vandenberg Space Force Base shared a video of the ICBM launch early Wednesday morning. 

Col. Bryan Titus, Space Launch Delta 30 vice commander said in a statement, “The Airmen and Guardians who perform this vital mission are some of the most skillfully trained and dedicated personnel in America’s Air and Space Force. These test launches demonstrate the readiness of U.S. nuclear forces and provide confidence in the lethality and effectiveness of the nation’s nuclear deterrent.”

The successful launch comes after President Joe Biden’s administration delayed an earlier U.S. intercontinental ballistic missile test to avoid further escalating tensions between the U.S. and China.

White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby confirmed the decision to delay the test during a White House press conference last month. 

“We do not believe it is in our interest, Taiwan’s interest or the region’s interest to allow tensions to escalate further,” Kirby said. “Which is why a long-planned Minuteman III ICBM test scheduled for this week has been rescheduled for the near future.”

While the U.S. put off its ballistic missile test, Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) forces launched several of their own ballistic missiles in the Taiwan Strait in early August. The missiles reportedly landed near Taiwanese territorial waters and in the waters of Japan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).