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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russia says destroyed 9 ICBMs in 2009 under START 1 arms pact

RIA Novosti

15:37 16/12/2009 VLASIKHA (Moscow Region), December 16 (RIA Novosti) - Russia has destroyed nine intercontinental ballistic missiles this year under a Russian-U.S. strategic arms reduction treaty (START 1), the Strategic Missile Forces (SMF) chief said on Wednesday.

"In accordance with the START 1 treaty, the Strategic Missile Forces destroyed nine ICBMs in 2009, including seven RS-18 and two RS-20 ICBMs," Lt. Gen. Andrei Shvaichenko said.

The new document to replace the START 1 treaty, which expired on December 5, could significantly reduce the number of nuclear weapons on both sides.

The outline of the new pact was agreed on during a U.S.-Russia summit in Moscow in July and includes cutting nuclear arsenals to 1,500-1,675 operational warheads and delivery vehicles to 500-1,000. A new treaty is expected to be drafted by the end of 2009.

The commander also said the U.S. had conducted 15 on-site inspections of SMF facilities this year.

He said the SMF would carry out 13 ICBM test launches next year.

The commander said the SMF were currently armed with six types of fourth- and fifth-generation missile systems, four of them silo-based and two road-mobile.

Silo-based missiles make up 45% of the SMF's total and 85% of its nuclear capability.

Shvaichenko said Russia planned to develop a new liquid-propellant ICBM to replace the Voyevoda (SS-18 Satan), capable of carrying 10 warheads, by 2016.

The general earlier said the development of the SMF prioritized the introduction of advanced missile systems although the existing systems would be kept operational until their extended service life expired.

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