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Analyst: Russian Missile Failure Reveals Bigger Problems

The December 9 test was the 12th test of the Bulava missile, at least seven of which have failed.
MOSCOW -- A U.S. defense expert says the failure of Russia's Bulava ballistic missile test this week indicates big problems in the country's strategic nuclear infrastructure, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

Baker Spring, a defense analyst with the U.S. Heritage Foundation, told RFE/RL that "the Russians think the strengthening of their nuclear arsenal can yield strategic and political dividends most economically, so to speak."

Spring suggested that Russia's attempts to build new ballistic missiles shows there is an increasing belief among Russia's leaders that the ability to threaten the United States would bring Russia to parity with it.

But Spring said that position could lead to an increase in anti-Americanism in Russia.

Russia's Defense Ministry confirmed on December 10 that the test of the Bulava, which was conducted on December 9, had failed.

Officials said the missile was launched from the "Dmitry Donskoi" submarine in the Barents Sea near Norwegian territory and a technical problem occurred during the launch's third phase.

It was the 12th test of the Bulava, at least seven of which have failed.