Russia to work on new generation of atomic weapons

Russia will work on a new generation of atomic weapons to strengthen its nuclear deterrent, Medvedev said.

Russia to work on new generation of atomic weapons

Russia will work on a new generation of atomic weapons to strengthen its nuclear deterrent, President Dmitry Medvedev said on Thursday, just hours after Moscow test-fired one of its most feared missiles.

Medvedev said that Russia and the United States were close to a landmark deal on cutting arsenals of Cold War nuclear weapons, but that Moscow would still push ahead with the development of new strategic offensive weapons.

"Of course, we will develop new systems, including delivery systems, that is, missiles," Medvedev told the directors of Russia's three main state-controlled television channels.

Medvedev said Washington and Moscow had agreed most of the remaining issues for a deal to replace the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START I), which led to the biggest reduction in nuclear weapons in history.

"Despite the fact that we will prepare and sign this treaty, we will nevertheless develop our strategic offensive forces because without this there is no way to defend our country," Medvedev said, several hours after the armed forces test-fired a nuclear capable missile.

The new missiles would be developed in full accordance with arms agreements made with the United States, he said.

The Kremlin chief said U.S. President Barack Obama's idea for a nuclear-free world was "beautiful and right" but cautioned that it would take time.

The interview, lasting 1 hour 21 minutes, contrasted sharply with Putin's confident 4-hour televised question-and-answer session with the Russian people on Dec 3, when he ruled out leaving politics and hinted he could run in 2012 presidential elections.

Medvedev said the crisis had shown the vulnerability of Russia's economy, which he said had contracted by at least 8.7 percent in 2009, the worst performance in 14 years.

"The exit from the crisis will be fairly slow," Medvedev said, adding that growth could total 2.5 to 5.0 percent in 2010.

"We still have an economic system which is based on the energy market," he said. "Without modernisation, our economy has no future even though it relies on huge natural riches."



Reuters


Last Mod: 25 Aralık 2009, 10:51
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