Late last week the residents of the small town of Salekhard Russia got quite the impressive light-show. So impressive and mysterious in fact, that at first many jumped to conclusions of alien or celestial intervention. Keep in mind these are people quite used to some spectacular light shows in the sky, as their town is above the arctic circle line and thus regularly offers views of the northern lights. But instead of that usual show, late last week residents in Salekhard and other nearby Russian towns were greeted with the sight of strange glowing orbs just seemingly hovering in the sky. See for yourself in some pictures here below.

Given this strange sight, it’s no wonder that some jumped to thoughts of Alien invaders. In fact local authorities reported receiving a number of calls, with residents complaining about UFO sightings due to the orbs. Overnight, Russian social media erupted with theories over the light orbs including everything from the previously mentioned Aliens to a literal tear in the fabric of space-time itself. 

Seemingly not wanting to induce a mass panic however, the Russian Ministry of Defense eventually stepped in to announce that the mysterious balls of light were really just the result of a series of ICMB test launches made by the nations Strategic Nuclear Forces.

Launch of a Topol-M ICMB from Plesetsk aimed at the Kura testing range caused the “UFOs”

For those that don’t know, ICBM stands for Intercontinental Ballistic Missile the kind of which is primarily designed for the delivery of nuclear weapons. In a post on their official Facebook page, the Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation stated the following message, translated for you here below.

On October 26, in accordance with the Training Plan of the Russian Armed Forces, Strategic Nuclear Forces held training. Components of ground, naval, and air Strategic Nuclear Forces of the Russian Federation were involved in the training. This included, Units of Strategic Missile Forces control centers, crews of nuclear missile submarines of the Northern and Pacific Fleets as well as long-range strategic bombers of the Russian Aerospace Forces who carried out training missions. 

Crews of #Tu-160, Tu-95MS, and Tu-22M3 aircraft took off from the Ukrainka, Engels, and Shaikovka airfields and fired cruise missiles at ground targets located at the Kura (Kamchatka), Pemboy (Komi), and Terekta (Kazakhstan). Strategic Missile Forces fired a #Topol missile from the Plesetsk State Test Cosmodrome at the Kura range. A Pacific Fleet submarine fired two #ballistic_missiles from the Okhotsk Sea at the Chizha range, Arkhangelsk region. A Northern Fleet submarine fired a ballistic missile at the Kura range. The troops completed all tasks. All assigned targets were engaged.

Photo of ICBM launch released by the Russian Military

What’s potentially worrying is this sudden, previously unannounced test comes following an already incredibly busy year for the Russian military. In fact after three quite years with no test launches, this makes the second wave of ICMB tests just this year. Beyond the missile launches were also the large scale Zapad war games that occurred just a few months back, in which the Russian Military ran simulations for a full scale conflict with NATO forces. If nothing else Putin seems sincerely determined to get the Russian military back in legitimate fighting shape. Whether or not that should concern the United States however, is a matter of opinion. 

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