A crucial step has been made this year in upgrading Russian nuclear deterrence capabilities, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said on Sunday.
he Russian Topol-M system
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"We need to have modern nuclear forces. I believe that a very serious step was taken in 2005 when we launched flight tests of new weapons systems," Ivanov told Russia's television Channel One.
The minister regarded the universalization of intercontinental ballistic missiles and their forthcoming delivery both to the Navy and the Strategic Missile Forces as the crucial step in the country's nuclear deterrence capabilities, the Interfax news agency reported.
"We have finished testing the Topol-M mobile system," Ivanov said. "As far as the future is concerned, since the START-II treaty is no longer valid, we can freely plan programs to provide our future nuclear forces with a variety of weapons, including those fitted with multiple re-entry vehicles. There are no longer any restrictions in this area," he said.
According to the minister, Russia has already started flight tests of its own Bulava missile system, and is finishing the development of the first new generation submarine, which will be equipped with this system.
Ivanov believes the future pattern of Russia's nuclear forces has been drawn up. It is clear, and there is no doubt that an effective air and space defense system is also part of this upgrading program, he said.