US cancels ICBM test amid conflict in Ukraine

Photo taken on Feb 19, 2020 shows the Pentagon seen from an airplane over Washington DC, the United States. (Photo/Xinhua)

The United States has canceled a planned test-launch of its Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in a bid to lower the nuclear tensions with Russia amid the ongoing military conflict in Ukraine, the U.S. Air Force told Xinhua on Friday.

The U.S. Air Force's press desk confirmed the cancellation in a phone call with Xinhua, saying the reason for the decision was the same as when the Air Force announced the delay of the test on March 2, which was to avoid misinterpretation or miscommunication with Russia during Moscow's military operation in Ukraine.

"The Department of the Air Force recently cancelled the routinely planned test flight of an LGM-30G Minuteman III missile scheduled for March 2022. The launch had been previously delayed due to an overabundance of caution to avoid misinterpretation or miscommunication during the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine and was cancelled for the same reason," Ann Stefanek, the spokesperson for the Air Force, later said in a statement sent to Xinhua via email.

"Our next planned test flight is later this year. The Department is confident in the readiness of the strategic forces of the United States," Stefanek added.

Russian President Vladimir Putin in February ordered his country's nuclear forces to be put on high alert, prompting Washington to call for de-escalation in what could otherwise be a potential nuclear crisis.