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Russia ‘test-fires hypersonic Kinzhal missile’

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Media captionRussia’s defence ministry released footage of the Kinzhal missile test-launch

Russia says it has successfully test-launched a hypersonic missile, one of a range of nuclear-capable weapons announced by President Vladimir Putin earlier this month.

The country’s defence ministry released video footage showing the missile detaching from a fighter jet and leaving a fiery trail behind it.

It said the intended target was hit.

On 1 March, Mr Putin described the Kinzhal missile – named after a type of dagger – as “an ideal weapon”.

He said it was part of a new stockpile of “invincible” weapons.

The Kinzhal is said to travel at 10 times the speed of sound and have a range of 2,000km (1,200 miles).

The defence ministry said the missile was launched from a MiG-31 jet that took off from an airfield in south-west Russia on Saturday.

“The launch went according to plan, the hypersonic missile hit its target,” the ministry said.

Mr Putin is widely expected to be re-elected as Russia’s president in a week’s time.

As part of his annual state of the nation speech on 1 March, he played a video graphic that appeared to show missiles raining down on the US state of Florida.

The US state department said this was not “the behaviour of a responsible international player”.

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