Russia's arsenal has 927 nuclear delivery systems - ministry-1

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MOSCOW, July 31 (RIA Novosti) - Russia possesses 927 nuclear weapons delivery systems, a senior defense official said Monday.

"As of January 1, Russia owned 927 nuclear delivery vehicles and 4,279 nuclear warheads for strategic offensive weapons, while the United States owns 1,255and 5,966 respectively," said Nikolai Artyukhin, head of the Defense Ministry's department for contract compliance control.

Under the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty signed in 1991 by the United States and the then-Soviet Union, the countries were obliged to reduce their numbers of nuclear warheads from about 10,000 to 6,000 each by Dec. 5, 2001. The treaty also required each country to reduce the number of its ballistic missiles and strategic bombers to 1,600.

Artyukhin said Russia had conducted 356 inspections in the United States and the U.S. had made 509 checks, including 437 in Russia, since the treaty came into effect in 1994.

Besides Russia and the U.S., also signatory to the treaty, which expires in 2009, are Kazakhstan, Ukraine and Belarus, where nuclear weapons and their delivery vehicles were based during Soviet times.

Artyukhin said Russia had scrapped over 1,000 nuclear delivery vehicles since the document came into force.

"Russia rigorously complies with its commitments under START-I and accordingly conducts its policy in the field of nuclear weapons," the official said.

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