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    Russia scraps nine more Topol systems under START-1 treaty

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    Russia has dismantled another nine outdated Topol mobile missile systems under a major international treaty on strategic arms reductions, the Strategic Missile Forces said in a statement Tuesday.

    MOSCOW, October 23 (RIA Novosti) - Russia has dismantled another nine outdated Topol mobile missile systems under a major international treaty on strategic arms reductions, the Strategic Missile Forces said in a statement Tuesday.

    "In March, May and August we scrapped nine Topol systems at a time [total of 27]," the statement said. "We also scrapped nine such systems between October 8 and 23."

    The Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START-I) was signed by the United States and the Soviet Union on July 31, 1991, five months before the Union collapsed, and remains in force between the U.S., Russia, and three other ex-Soviet states.

    Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine have since disposed of all their nuclear weapons or transferred them to Russia, and the U.S. and Russia have reduced the number of delivery vehicles to 1,600, with no more than 6,000 warheads. The treaty is set to expire December 5, 2009.

    Topol (SS-25 Sickle) is a single-warhead intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) approximately the same size and shape as the U.S. Minuteman ICBM.

    The first Topol missiles became operational in 1985 and at the time of the signing the START I Treaty the Soviet Union had some 290 Topol ICBMs deployed.

    As the service life of the SS-25 is about 10 to 15 years, the missile will be progressively retired over the next decade and be replaced by a mobile version of the Topol-M (SS-27 Sickle B) missile.

    The Strategic Missile Forces press service said 16 mobile Topol ICBMs were dismantled in 2006 under close monitoring by U.S. inspectors.

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