Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Radio Free Europe/Radio Free Liberty
Russia has successfully tested its new Avangard hypersonic missile, the Kremlin said on December 26.
President Vladimir Putin watched the test from the Defense Ministry's control room in Moscow, saying afterward that it was "an excellent New Year's gift to the nation."
The missile was launched from a testing ground in the southern Ural Mountains and successfully hit a target on Kamchatka in the Far East, some 6,000 kilometers away.
"The Avangard is invulnerable to interception by any existing and prospective missile-defense means of the potential adversary," Putin said.
He also said the missile would enter service with the Strategic Missile Forces next year.
The Avangard system was one of several advanced weapons systems that Putin presented during his state-of-the-nation speech in March.
At the time he said Russia had developed the weapons because of Washington's efforts to develop U.S. missile-defense capabilities.
Putin said in March that the Avangard has intercontinental ranges and can fly at 20 times the speed of sound.
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