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    INVESTIGATION LAUNCHED AFTER MISSILE SELF-DESTRUCTS

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    Moscow, February 19, 2004. (RIA Novosti correspondent). A special commission is investigating the cause of the self-destruction of a missile launched on Wednesday from the Karelia nuclear-powered submarine. The destruction of the missile occurred during the command post strategic exercise in Barents Sea, reported Yury Baluenskiy, first deputy chief of Russian Armed Forces General Staff, at a press conference in Moscow on Thursday.

    "The incident will be thoroughly investigated by a special commission that will make all of the necessary conclusions and to compile a report," said General Baluevskiy.

    "A deviation indeed took place, and in this case a standard self-destruction system was initiated," he added.

    According to General Baluevskiy, the commission will "deal with the status of technical assets. We are not going to penalize a certain person, we just want to know what caused the problem." "The RS-54 missile that self-destructed yesterday is considered to be one of the most reliable," added General Baluevskiy. "Since 1992 only one out of 36 launches has ended in failure." - 0- (MAN/SM)

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