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    Topol-M mobile ICBMs crucial for national security -- Putin

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    President Vladimir Putin said Thursday the deployment of mobile Topol-M intercontinental ballistic missile systems contributes a great deal to Russia's national security.

    IVANOVO, December 14 (RIA Novosti) - President Vladimir Putin said Thursday the deployment of mobile Topol-M intercontinental ballistic missile systems contributes a great deal to Russia's national security.

    "This is a significant step forward in improving our defense capabilities," he said while inspecting the first regiment of mobile Topol-M ICBMs, put on active duty this month in the Ivanovo region in Central Russia.

    Vladimir Putin said last month that developing Russia's strategic forces is the main priority on the national defense agenda.

    "Maintaining a strategic balance will mean that our strategic deterrent forces should be able to guarantee the neutralization of any potential aggressor, no matter what modern weapons systems he possesses," the president told a meeting with top military officials.

    He called for the creation of cutting-edge strategic weapons, and emphasized quality over quantity.

    Russia currently has five missile regiments equipped with silo-based Topol-M missiles, and one regiment equipped with mobile Topol-M systems. The total number of Topol-M ICBMs, including three silo-based systems to be deployed at the Tatishchevo base, will reach 48 by the end of the year, according to Russia's Strategic Forces Command.

    Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said earlier that Russia is planning to purchase 69 silo-based and mobile Topol-M ballistic missile systems in the next decade.

    As of January 1, Russia possessed 927 nuclear delivery vehicles and 4,279 nuclear warheads for strategic offensive weapons, while the United States owns 1,255 and 5,966, respectively, according to the Russian Defense Ministry.

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