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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran Press TV

Russia to re-launch missile warning station in Crimea

Iran Press TV

Sat Oct 4, 2014 4:34PM GMT

Moscow is planning to modernize and re-launch a Soviet-era radar station on the Crimean Peninsula, which voluntarily reunited with Russia in March.

Alexander Golovko, the commander of the air and space defense forces, was quoted as saying by the Itar Tass news agency on Saturday that the radar station in the port city of Sevastopol, which provides early warning of missile strikes, would become completely operational within two years.

"The radar station's Dnepr warning system on airstrikes, based in Sevastopol, will become part of Russia's missile warning system after modernization, and will become operational in 2016," said the top defense official.

Moscow rented the Soviet-era facility from Ukraine for several years following the breakup of the former Soviet Union.

Huge investments have been made in Crimea after it rejoined Russia following a referendum in which Crimea's largely Russian-speaking residents voted to break away from Ukraine.

On March 21, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law documents officially making Crimea part of the Russian territory, saying the move was carried out based on international law.

Meanwhile, Golovko noted that Russian forces are set to take over the Center for Deep Space Communications in Yevpatoria in Crimea from December 1. It is home to a huge radio telescope made in the 1970s.

The Russian government wants to increase defense spending by 21.4 percent next year. Russia's Black Sea naval fleet, which is based in the Crimean city of Sevastopol, is also undergoing modernization.

Located on the northern coast of the Black Sea, the Crimea Peninsula is of strategic value.

Crimea is also of high importance economically as the peninsula is home to several natural gas fields onshore and offshore, all connected to Ukraine's pipeline system.

MR/KA/SS



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