Russia scraps six more Topol systems under START-I Treaty

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Moscow, Mar 27 (UNI) Russia has scrapped six more outdated Topol mobile missile systems under the international Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty on arms reductions.

''We scrapped six outdated Topol mobile systems between March 17 and 26,'' the Russian Strategic Missile Forces said today, adding it was the first such procedure conducted this year.

The systems were based in the Udmurt Republic in eastern Urals.

The START-I was signed by the United States and the Soviet Union on July 31, 1991, five months before the collapse of the USSR and remains in force between the US, Russia and three other former Soviet republics-- Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine.

The three former Soviet republics have since disposed of all their nuclear weapons or transferred them to Russia, and the US and Russia have reduced the number of delivery vehicles to 1,600, with no more than 6,000 warheads.

The Treaty is set to expire December 5, 2009.

Topol (SS-25 Sickle) is a single-warhead intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) approximately the same size and shape as the US Minuteman ICBM.

The first Topol missiles became operational in 1985 and at the time the START-I Treaty was signed, the Soviet Union had some 290 Topol ICBMs deployed.

Although the service life of the SS-25 was extended to 21 years after a series of successful test launches last year, the missile will be progressively retired over the next decade and be replaced by a mobile version of the Topol-M (SS-27 Sickle B) missile.

The Strategic Missile Forces press service said 36 mobile Topol ICBMs were dismantled in 2007 under close monitoring by US inspectors.

UNI XC SYU RN1903

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