- MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia
plans to deploy a second batch of its new Topol-M nuclear missiles in the
first half of December, RIA news agency quoted a deputy defense minister
as saying Friday.
- The first 10 Topol-M missiles were installed in their
silos last December. Moscow wants the Topol-M, known to the West as the
SS-27, to become the backbone of Russia's nuclear deterrent and plans submarine-based
and mobile versions.
- "A second Strategic Rocket Forces regiment equipped
with land-based Topol-M intercontinental ballistic missiles will assume
full combat readiness in the first half of December this year," RIA
quoted Col.-Gen. Alexander Kosovan as saying.
- Last month, another senior defense official said Russia
had eight years at most to replace its aging nuclear arsenal before most
of it becomes obsolete.
- Kosovan, who is a deputy defense minister in charge of
military construction and housing, told a news conference that two missile
early warning systems were near completion in Belarus and in the Russian
Far East and a number of air and naval bases had been repaired this year.
- But RIA reported he also said little had been invested
in military infrastructure in recent years, meaning many bases were in
poor shape and much remained to be done. Russia's economic crisis means
there is little cash to spare for the armed forces.