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    RUSSIAN BALLISTIC MISSILE SELF-DESTRUCTS OVER BARENTS SEA

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    MOSCOW, FEBRUARY 18, 2004, /RIA-NOVOSTI CORRESPONDENT/ -- The Karelia SSBN (Strategic Submarine Ballistic Nuclear) launched one of its ballistic missiles February 18; that missile's self-destruct device was subsequently activated, Igor Dygalo, chief of the Russian Navy's press center, said here today.

    The ballistic missile lifted off exactly as planned; its flight parameters remained normal for 98 consecutive seconds, Dygalo noted. However, the missile then began to veer off course. Hence its self-destruct system was activated as a result, Dygalo stressed.

    A board of inquiry is now trying to find out the causes of that incident, Dygalo said.

    The Karelia SSBN is currently taking part in an exercise, which involves elements of the Russian Navy's North fleet.

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