Kazakhstan has suspended Russian rocket and missile tests at military testing sites on Kazakh territory after a Russian rocket crashed near a village in the western part of the country.

Early on Thursday, a meteorological rocket was launched from the Kapustin Yar testing site in Russia, but it exploded near the Kazakh village of Shungai, said Kazakhstan's defence ministry. 

The ministry announced in a statement on Friday that the suspension of tests on its military fields "until the causes of the incident have been clarified". It added that no casualties or serious damage were reported.

Russia's Defence Ministry blamed the incident on a failure of the rocket's engine system which prevented it from reaching a targeted testing ground in Kazakhstan, which Russia rents out from the country.

The Soviet-era Kapustin Yar test site, in use since the late 1940s, sprawls from Russia's southern Astrakhan Region to Kazakhstan's Atyrau and West Kazakhstan regions.

Russia leases the Kazakh land and tests various types of missiles and rockets, including intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Russia and Kazakhstan have close political and economic ties, but several botched launches of Russian rockets have caused tensions in the past.

Last July, Kazakhstan temporarily banned all launches of Russia's Proton cargo rockets from the Baikonur cosmodrome rented by Moscow after a rocket of this type carrying three navigation satellites crashed shortly after lift-off.

That incident led to a large spill of heptyl, a highly toxic rocket propellant, but there were no reports of casualties.

 

 

Source: Reuters