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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russia destroys 20 ballistic missiles in 2008 under START treaty

RIA Novosti

09/06/2008 14:02 MOSCOW, June 9 (RIA Novosti) - Russia has destroyed and sent for scrap about 20 intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) and 12 mobile missile launchers since the start of 2008, the Strategic Missile Forces (SMF) said on Monday.

"Since January 2008, the SMF have destroyed and sent for scrap about 20 ICBMs whose service life has expired," the SMF said in a statement, adding the missiles were scrapped as part of the START-1 treaty, set to expire on December 6, 2009.

In addition, a total of 12 mobile missile launchers have been dismantled during the same period under the close monitoring of U.S. inspectors, the statement said.

The Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START-I) was signed by the United States and the Soviet Union on July 31, 1991, five months before the Union collapsed, and remains in force between the U.S., Russia, and three other ex-Soviet states.

Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine have since disposed of all their nuclear weapons or transferred them to Russia. The U.S. and Russia have reduced the number of delivery vehicles to 1,600, with no more than 6,000 warheads.

Russia's nuclear arsenal currently totals about 4,147 warheads on 848 delivery vehicles, while the U.S. deploys 5,914 warheads on 1,225 delivery vehicles, according to the U.S.-based Arms Control Association.

Russia's SMF said U.S. experts had conducted a total of 340 inspections of ballistic missile launch sites in Russia since the START-1 treaty came into force on December 5, 1994.

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