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Russia's Strategic Missile Forces will complete the deployment of silo-based Topol-M ICBMs by 2010
Russia's Strategic Missile Forces will complete the deployment of silo-based Topol-M ICBMs by 2010, the SMF commander in chief said Tuesday. "Alongside the deployment of Topol-M mobile complexes, we are planning to finalize the deployment of fixed-site Topol-M systems by 2010," Col. Gen. Nikolai Solovtsov said. He said Monday the Topol-M system will be equipped with multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles (MIRV) in the next two or three years, adding the new system will help penetrate missile defenses more effectively. His statement comes against the background of growing tensions between Moscow and the West regarding plans by the United States to deploy elements of its global antiballistic missile defense system in Central Europe. Washington has insisted that placing missile shield components in Poland and the Czech Republic is aimed against possible nuclear strikes from rogue states, such as Iran and North Korea, whose controversial nuclear programs have caused international concerns. But Moscow, already unnerved by NATO expansion to former Warsaw Pact member states, has condemned the plans as a threat to national security and a destabilizing factor for Europe. Gen. Solovtsov said the Strategic Missile Forces would factor in the new threats. "If the U.S. proceeds with missile defense plans, despite serious opposition from people in Europe, the Strategic Missile Forces will manage to take adequate measures to counter threats to Russia," he said. But a Russian senior military official said Monday Russia's mid-tem military development program will not be reviewed despite U.S. plans to deploy a missile defense system in Central Europe. "The Armed Forces development plan through 2010 was approved by the Russian president. It is being implemented and will not be amended," said Gen. Yury Baluyevsky, chief of the General Staff of Russia's Armed Forces. He said the plan could only be revised if drastic changes occur globally. "Thus far no such changes have taken place," he said. Gen. Baluyevsky also said Russia does not intend to use the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty to provide an asymmetric response to U.S. missile shield plans. "If someone thinks Russia's position on American missile defense and the CFE are linked, they are wrong," he told a briefing in Moscow. He said Russia could respond with less expensive options, adding that the missile defense program was onerous even for the American budget. He said Moscow will respond without fail if it sees missile defense as a threat to its national interests. "Exactly what measures will be taken is a technical matter," he said. Gen. Baluyevsky said should it break out, a new "Cold War" would set U.S.-Russian relations back 50 years, adding it is vital to prevent such a situation.
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