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Russia test-fires its latest hypersonic Zircon missile

MOSCOW (AP): The Russian Navy on Saturday conducted another test of a prospective hypersonic missile, a demonstration of the military's long-range strike capability amid the fighting in Ukraine.

The Defense Ministry said the Admiral Gorshkov frigate of the Northern Fleet in the White Sea launched the Zircon cruise missile in the Barents Sea, successfully hitting a practice target in the White Sea about 1,000 km away.

The launch was the latest in a series of tests of Zircon, which is set to enter service later this year.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that Zircon is capable of flying at nine times the speed of sound and has a range of 1,000 km. Putin has emphasized that its deployment will significantly boost the capability of Russia's military.

Zircon is intended to arm Russian cruisers, frigates and submarines and could be used against both enemy ships and ground targets. It is one of several hypersonic missiles under development in Russia.

Russian officials have boasted about Zircon's capability, saying that it's impossible to intercept with existing anti-missile systems.

Putin, who has sternly warned Western allies against interfering in Ukraine, has warned in the past that Russian warships armed with Zircon would give Russia a capability to strike "decision-making centres" within minutes if deployed in neutral waters.

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