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    Bulava missile launch successful -- Defense Minister

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    MOSCOW, December 21 (RIA Novosti) - The test launch of the Bulava ballistic missile was successful, the Russian defense minister said Wednesday.

    "The launch has been conducted successfully," Sergei Ivanov said in a report to the Russian President. "The separation of all stages, combat and simulation blocks occurred according to pre-set parameters."

    It was earlier reported that the missile was launched Wednesday from the submerged Dmitry Donskoy, a Typhoon-class ballistic missile submarine, and successfully hit its dummy target at the Kura test site on the Kamchatka Peninsula.

    "What is important is that the submarine was moving [underwater], it was not stationary," the minister said.

    Ivanov also said the tests of the Bulava missile would continue in 2006.

    "We are fairly certain that the [Bulava] missile system, and a new submarine to be equipped with it, will be deployed by our navy in 2008," he said.

    Russia's Borey-class nuclear submarines will be equipped with Bulava missiles. Two submarines are being built at the Sevmash plant in Severodvinsk in the Arkhangelsk Region, in north European Russia.

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