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Russia's Test-Firing of ICBM Planned, But 'Suspicious'

<p>The timing of Russia's missile test called into question by United States officials due to the ongoing Ukraine crisis.</p>

Russia said it test-fired an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile on Tuesday, a planned event that timing of which was still called into question by United States officials because of the ongoing Ukraine crisis.

Russia’s Strategic Rocket Forces launched an RS-12M Topol missile from the southerly Astrakhan region with a dummy warhead, that hit a target at a test site in Kazakhstan, Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Yegorov told state-run news agency RIA.

The launch site, Kapustin Yar, is near the Volga River about 280 miles east of the Ukrainian border. Kazakhstan, a Russian ally, is further to the east.

A senior U.S. official told NBC News that the test launch had been "on the books for some time prior to the current crisis in Ukraine."

Defense and military officials told NBC News that the United States has adequate surveillance and tracking satellites to detect the launch and are waiting for confirmation.

The timing, the military officials agreed, appeared “suspicious but not threatening.”

"This was a previously notified and routine test launch of an ICBM," National Security Council spokesperson Caitlin Hayden said in a statement.

"As required under the New START Treaty, Russia provided advance notification of this launch to the United States," she said. "Such advance notifications are intended to provide transparency, confidence, and predictability and to help both sides avoid misunderstandings. Russia and the United States routinely flight test their ICBMs and SLBMs."

Jeff Black of NBC News and Reuters contributed to this report.