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    DEPUTY CHIEF OF RUSSIA GENERAL STAFF ON OUTLOOK FOR ANTIMISSILE DEFENCE COUNTERACTION

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    MOSCOW, February 19, 2004. (RIA Novosti) - The general staff of the Russian Armed Forces sees several directions in counteracting the perspective antimissile defence system, its first deputy chief Yuri Baluevski said.

    "It is above all the improvement of strategic offensive armaments," he told the press conference in Moscow on Thursday.

    It is also the taking of efficient steps to neutralise whatever perspective antimissile defence systems, he added.

    The third direction is the search for new methods of operational use of strategic offensive armaments.

    As regards the improvement of strategic offensive armaments, the Russian top officer said that in the plans is the unfolding of novel systems of sea-based carriers of missile systems.

    When commenting on the second direction of counteracting the antimissile systems Baluevski said: "Yesterday's experiment /the strategic command-and-staff drill/ showed that we can create a weapon to incapacitate the system of antimissile defence".

    "By virtue of our financial and economic capabilities, we do not have to create systems as other countries do. But we will keep an eye on their development," the first deputy chief of the Russian general staff said.

    At the same time, modern antimissile defence systems cannot ensure protection against a massive strike by intercontinental ballistic missiles, Baluevski emphasised. This goes for both the Russian antimissile defence system and the systems under development in the United States, he said.

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