Russia scraps another 6 Topol missile systems under START-1 Treaty

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Moscow, Sep 18 (UNI) Russia has scrapped another six outdated Topol mobile ballistic missile systems under START-1 Treaty, a major international treaty on strategic arms reduction.

''We scrapped six outdated Topol mobile systems. This is the third such procedure conducted this year,'' Russia's Strategic Missile Forces said in a statement today.

The first two batches totalling 12 Topol systems this year were scrapped in March and May. All of them were based in the Udmurt republic in the eastern Urals.

The Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START-I) was signed by the US and the Soviet Union on July 31, 1991, five months before the collapse of the latter and remains in force between the US, Russia, and three other former Soviet republics.

Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine have since disposed of all their nuclear weapons or transferred them to Russia, which along with the US has reduced the number of delivery vehicles to 1,600, with no more than 6,000 warheads.

The Treaty is set to expire on 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-1 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 would be progressively removed from the service 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 earlier said 36 mobile Topol ICBMs were dismantled last year under close monitoring by US inspectors.

UNI XC SKB AS1513

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