The Pentagon announced Wednesday that it postponed the test of Minuteman III ballistic missile launch amid tensions with Moscow after Russian President Vladimir Putin put nuclear forces on alert.
"In an effort to demonstrate that we have no intention in engaging in any actions that could be misunderstood or misconstrued, the Secretary of Defense has directed that our Minuteman III Intercontinental ballistic missile test launch scheduled for this week to be postponed," spokesman John Kirby said at a news conference.
The US is canceling the planned test "to demonstrate we are a responsible nuclear power," said Kirby. "This is not a step backwards in our readiness, nor does it imply that we will necessarily cancel other routine activities to ensure a credible nuclear capability."
Putin ordered Russian nuclear forces be put on high alert Sunday, a move US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called the "height of irresponsibility."
Blinken denounced Putin's "provocative rhetoric about nuclear weapons," saying it is "dangerous, it adds to the risk of miscalculation, it needs to be avoided."
More than 2,000 civilians have been killed since Russia launched its war on Ukraine on Feb. 24, according to Ukrainian authorities, while the UN Refugee Agency estimates more than 874,000 people have fled Ukraine to neighboring countries.
According to the Russian Defense Ministry, 498 Russian soldiers have been killed and 1,597 wounded in the fighting.
More than 2,870 Ukrainian soldiers and “nationalists” have also been killed, the ministry said Wednesday.