MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday hailed the successful test launch of a new Zircon hypersonic cruise missile as a “big event” for the country.

Speaking to Putin via a video call, Russian General Staff chief Valery Gerasimov said the test launch took place Tuesday from the Admiral Groshkov frigate located in the White Sea, in the north of Russia.

The missile successfully hit a target in the Barents Sea, he added.

“Equipping our armed forces — the army and the navy — with the latest, truly unparalleled weapon systems will certainly ensure the defense capability of our country in the long term,” said Putin, who was celebrating his 68th birthday Wednesday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin listens to General Staff chief Valery Gerasimov during a video conference at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow on Oct. 7, 2020. (Alexei Druzhinin, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
Russian President Vladimir Putin listens to General Staff chief Valery Gerasimov during a video conference at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow on Oct. 7, 2020. (Alexei Druzhinin, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

In 2019, Putin had said the Zircon would be capable of flying at nine times the speed of sound and have a range of 1,000 kilometers (620 miles).