- MOSCOW (AP) -- The military declared 10 newly designed nuclear missiles
ready for combat Sunday in its first deployment of the Topol-M, developed
to maintain Russia's position as a global nuclear power.
- The single-warhead Topol-M, whose range
has been reported to exceed 6,200 miles, will be the new heart of Russia's
missile forces, and 40 are expected to be built by the end of 2000 taking
the place of heavier, multiple-warhead missiles. The missile is designed
to be fired from a vehicle, and its mobility makes it more safe from preemptive
strikes than silo-based missiles.
- The 10 Topol-M's were deployed in the
Saratov region, about 450 miles southeast of Moscow, the ITAR-Tass news
- The deployment was a major step for Russia's
cash-strapped government, which doesn't have enough money to maintain all
its armed forces, and decided to concentrate defense spending on developing
- "This is a very important event,
because even in the difficult financial conditions of 1998 we have managed
to find funds for financing this top priority area," said Defense
Minister Igor Sergeyev, according to ITAR-Tass.
- Russia is facing its worst economic crisis
since the Soviet collapse.
- A parliament committee is drafting a
bill that would guarantee funding to the strategic missile forces until
2010, regardless of the country's economic situation, the Interfax news
- The measure would ensure that Russia
maintains nuclear parity with the West, according to Roman Popkovich, chairman
of the Defense Committee of the State Duma, the lower house of parliament.