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Russia Tests Missile Said To Make Defense 'Obsolete'

| by Lauren Briggs

Russia successfully test-launched a missile said to be unstoppable by Western defense systems.

The foreign government reportedly tested a Zircon missile five successful times, reports Yahoo! News. Capable of reaching speeds between 3,800 and 4,600 mph, the weapon can travel up to six times the speed of sound.

"It will greatly reduce the reaction time that [Western military units] have to deploy their own defenses and countermeasures," said defense analyst Tim Ripley, according to Yahoo! News.

That's because it is so fast that any anti-missile program will have serious trouble targeting it, added Ripley, who warned that the Zircon can render defense systems "obsolete."

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According to Russian news outlets, military analyst Vladimir Tuchkov stated that "the testing of actual weapons" that can "guarantee" to bypass defense systems "is already underway" and will likely become a part of Russia's arsenal between 2018 and 2020.

The news comes amid reports that the U.S. was looking into returning to Russia two of its diplomatic centers located in the U.S., although the White House said that they have not reached any agreements, notes NBC News.

Former President Barack Obama ordered the two compounds -- in Maryland and New York -- to close in light of allegations that the Russian government coordinated computer hacking with the intention of meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

A senior official told NBC that he had not heard any news about the compounds but that the White House is looking to improve relations with the foreign nation in general.

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On June 1, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the presence of U.S. anti-missile systems in Alaska and South Korea "destroys the strategic balance in the world," leaving Russia with no choice but to bulk up their own missiles, according to Reuters.

"What is happening is a very serious and alarming process," said Putin. "In Alaska, and now in South Korea, elements of the anti-missile defense system are emerging. Should we just stand idly by and watch this? Of course not. We are thinking about how to respond to these challenges. This is a challenge for us."

Calling it "simply a forced response to what is happening in the region," Putin said that he would consider demilitarizing the units Russia has built up in the Kurile Islands once threats in the entire region have begun to dissipate.

The U.S. has bulked up its forces in the area as a defensive response to a growing threat presented by North Korea, Putin said.

"I don't agree that we are unilaterally starting to militarize these islands," Putin added.

Sources: Yahoo! News, NBC, Reuters via Alaska Dispatch News / Photo credit: Naval Surface Warriors/Flickr

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