Russia to Deploy New Warheads in December: Report

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Agence France Presse

Russia to Deploy New Warheads in December: Report

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Russi tests a RS-18 intercontinental ballistic missile from the Baikonur cosmodrome in 2008. General Nikolai Solovtsov says Russia will deploy a new multiple-warhead, nuclear-capable missile after a key US-Russian arms control treaty expires in December. (AFP)

MOSCOW - Russia will deploy a new multiple-warhead, nuclear-capable missile after a key US-Russian arms control treaty expires in December, a top general said on Tuesday, quoted by news agencies.

"After December 5, that is after the expiration of the START-1 treaty, a regiment with one command centre and one rocket division armed with RS-24 complexes with detachable warheads will be placed on a state of combat readiness," General Nikolai Solovtsov was quoted as saying.

At least four warheads would be placed on the RS-24 missiles to be deployed, said Solovtsov, the commander of Russia's strategic missile forces.

Solovtsov had announced last year that RS-24 missiles would be deployed in December 2009 at a base northeast of Moscow.

In his comments, he linked the date of the RS-24 deployment to the December 5 expiration of START-1, a landmark 1991 treaty that limited the number of warheads and missiles in the US and Russian arsenals.

With the treaty set to expire, Moscow has been urging Washington to replace it with a new and broader agreement that would also address Russian concerns about missile defence.

Russia in recent years has stepped up testing of its RS-24 intercontinental ballistic missiles, which it says are designed to counter defence systems like the planned US missile shield.

US plans to place missile defence facilities in Eastern Europe have angered Russia, which views them as a threat to its security.

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