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Subject: Russia 'tests new missile systems'
Big Bad Pariah    11/17/2004 11:09:09 AM
MOSCOW, Russia -- President Vladimir Putin says Russia's armed forces will soon have access to advanced nuclear missile systems unlike those held by other countries. Speaking to high-ranking military officials Wednesday, Putin said that while international terrorism was one of the main threats facing Russia, the country's nuclear defenses also had to be kept up to date. "We are conducting research and are testing the most up-to-date nuclear missile systems, which, I'm sure, will be supplied to the armed forces in the near future," Putin was quoted as saying by Interfax news agency. "What is even more important, these systems will have no analogues in the other nuclear powers during the next few years." "International terrorism is one of the major threats for Russia. We understand as soon as we ignore such components of our defense as a nuclear and missile shield, other threats may occur." Putin gave no further details about what type of weapons he was referring to. However, The Associated Press quoted Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov as saying this month that Russia hoped to test-fire a mobile version of its Topol-M ballistic mission this year. Production of the system could begin next year, Ivanov said. AP added that Russia was also reported to be developing a next-generation nuclear missile capable of carrying up to 10 warheads weighing up to 4.4 tons, compared with the Topol-M's payload of 1.32 tons. Topol-Ms have been deployed in silos since 1998. Putin has often pledged to restore Russia's military power, which declined after the break-up Soviet Union amid severe funding problems.
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