Russia was hit by a wave of UFO reports after spectacular sightings of a ‘shuttlecock-shaped’ object flashing through the night sky.
The bright “cone” speeding over the Urals and Volga regions initially sparked fears of a meteorite.
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Social media across several time zones in Russia and also Kazakhstan was buzzing with awe-inspiring images of the mysterious object as it streaked overhead in the early evening.
One posting in Saratov said: “Some kind of UFO. Did anybody else see it too? Something really unusual, what was it? Then it flashed…and soon disappeared”.
‘Unknown and surprising.’
Sofya Salova, from Ufa, said “We went for a walk with the children and saw a UFO over the city. It was unknown and surprising.
“At first it was just a bright spot, then it flashed to the right like a large torch, made a light ‘fart’ – sorry I can’t find a better word – and just vanished.”
In Chelyabinsk – hit by a major meteorite in 2013 – residents described the object as a “flying jellyfish”.
There were fears it was “something nuclear”, but the missile test did not contain live warheads.
There were also sightings in Samara, Perm, and Omsk.
Later it became clear that the UFO was not aliens or a lump of space rock but a test launch of a Topol-M intercontinental ballistic rocket by Vladimir Putin’s strategic missile forces.
Footage showed the launch from the Kapustin Yar firing range in Astrakhan region, said the Russian defence ministry.
It hit a target at the Sary Shagan anti-ballistic missile site in Kazakhstan in a “successful” test, according to officials.
The timing matched the sightings of the unusual object in the sky.
The Topol-M is a strategic intercontinental ballistic missile system developed at the end of the Soviet era.
It is capable of carrying an 800 kiloton warhead with the destructive power of 800,000 tonnes of TNT.
This is 40 times the destructive power of the atomic bomb detonated over Nagasaki, Japan in 1945.
This content was originally published here.