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    RUSSIA'S STRATEGIC MISSILE FORCES ON HIGH ALERT

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    MOSCOW, February 19, 2004 (RIA Novosti) - The war game demonstrated that Russia's Strategic Missile Forces' combat efficiency was high, said Yury Baluyevsky, First Deputy Chief of the General Staff.

    "Missile launches prove that the Forces are showing no sign of decline. Moreover, the experiments, which were conducted as part of the exercise, will prompt preliminary conclusions as to updating Russia's strategic nuclear weapons," said the military.

    Mr Baluyevsky said a special commission would inquire into the cause of the self-destruction of a missile, which was launched from the Karelia nuclear submarine in the Barents Sea on Wednesday. The commission is expected to prepare a report on the incident.

    The missile wandered off course and its self-destruction system was activated, said the military.

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