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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russia to begin large-scale rearmament of Armed Forces in 2011

RIA Novosti

17/03/2009 14:03 MOSCOW, March 17 (RIA Novosti) - A comprehensive rearmament of Russia's Armed Forces will begin in 2011, President Dmitry Medvedev said on Tuesday.

"Last year we equipped a number of military units with new weaponry, and we will start large-scale rearmament of the Armed Forces in 2011," Medvedev said at a meeting with Defense Ministry officials.

He said that the current military-political situation in the world calls for a thorough modernization of the Russian Armed Forces, primarily its strategic nuclear forces.

"They must be able to accomplish all tasks aimed at ensuring Russia's military security," Medvedev said, adding that this process would involve the enhancement of combat readiness of all military units.

The president reiterated that "despite the current financial difficulties, Russia has never had better favorable conditions to create modern and highly efficient armed forces."

Medvedev also said that the Russian Security Council would soon endorse a national security strategy for the period up to 2020.

"Long-term plans in the defense sphere should be based on a Russian national security strategy for the period up to 2020, which the Security Council should endorse in the near future," Medvedev said.

The president announced last year that Russia would make the modernization of its nuclear deterrent and Armed Forces a priority in light of the August military conflict with Georgia.

Russia's military expenditure has been steadily growing recently, and the country reportedly plans to increase the current defense budget of $40 billion by 50% in the next three years.

Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said on Tuesday that the share of modern weaponry in the Russian Armed Forces would reach 30% by 2015, and would total 70% by 2020.

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