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|Thursday, June 22, 2000, updated at 21:51(GMT+8)|
Russia Warns U.S. It May Pull Out of Medium-Range Missile TreatyA top Russian military officer warned Wednesday that his country may withdraw from the Medium-Range Missile Treaty and resume the development of medium and medium-short range missiles If the U.S. builds missile defense systems.
Russia will strongly react to the deployment of the U.S. national missile defense (NMD) system, said Col. Gen. Vladimir Yakovlev,Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Strategic Missile Force (SMF) at a news briefing.
"The step (Russia's pullout of the Medium-Range Missile Treaty) is possible as part of Moscow's asymmetrical response to Washington's withdrawal from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty," he said.
"Russia has the technological potential for developing a medium and theater missile group. It's very simple because their production is a component of the existing production of missile carriers," Yakovlev said.
"The production of such missiles will come much cheaper than that of intercontinental ballistic missiles," he noted.
Meanwhile, he stressed that it is necessary to unite Russia's nuclear triad of land, sea and air components under one command for rapid and effective reaction to possible steps by the U.S..
"This issue has already been coordinated: all the necessary scientific, economic, military and technical grounds have been prepared," he said.
Moreover, the third and next SMF regiment equipped with ten of the newest intercontinental ballistic Topol-M missiles will enter combat duty in 2000, Yakovlev said.
The first two such missile regiments have come into combat duty respectively in 1998 and 1999, he added.
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