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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russia Building Radar Station in Belarus

ITAR-TASS 12 Feb 98
By Mikhail Shevtsov

MOSCOW, February 12 (Itar-Tass) -- The Russian Strategic Missile Troops commander, Colonel-General Vladimir Yakovlev, today flew to Belarus for inspecting the progress of construction of a radar station in Baranovichi.

The anti-missile early warning radar station is being built to replace the Russian radar station in Skrunde, Latvia.

Military sources told Itar-Tass that August 31 of this year ends an accord on renting the Soviet-period Skrunde station for an annual five million dollars.

The Russian military do not expect the Baranovichi radar station to be put on operation by August 31 because of inadequate funding of the construction project.

This leaves Russia in need to negotiate with Latvia an extension of the lease contract for another two to five years.

Apart from Skrunde, Russia has its ground-based radar stations in Sevastopol, Ukraine; Mukachevo, Ukraine; Balkhash, Kazakhstan; Gabala, Azerbaijan, and in Murmansk, Pechora and Irkutsk in its own territory. Steady operation of ground and space-based groupings of the Russian anti-missile early waning system is crucial to the strategic nuclear forces.

Military experts estimate the forces' satellite grouping to make 30 per cent of an adequate size and to be in need of building up. Duma Defence Committee member Roman Popkovich told Itar-Tass that "we should pay special attention to appropriations for maintaining the reliable functioning of the missile attack warning system ensuring the control of the Russian strategic nuclear forces".

Deputy Defence Minister Nikolay Mikhailov said in a statement that "one rouble of investment in technological development of means of information and control systems in its effectiveness is equal to ten roubles of investment in quantitative build-up of warheads".

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