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    Russia scraps another six Topol systems under START-1 treaty

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    Russia has dismantled another six outdated Topol mobile ballistic missile systems under a major international treaty on strategic arms reduction, the Strategic Missile Forces said in a statement on Thursday.

    MOSCOW, September 18 (RIA Novosti) - Russia has dismantled another six outdated Topol mobile ballistic missile systems under a major international treaty on strategic arms reduction, the Strategic Missile Forces said in a statement on Thursday.

    "We scrapped six outdated Topol mobile systems. This is the third such procedure conducted this year," the statement said.

    The first two batches totaling 12 Topol systems this year were scrapped in March and May. All of the systems were based in the Udmurt Republic in the eastern Urals.

    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 the START I Treaty was signed, the Soviet Union had some 290 Topol ICBMs deployed.

    Although the service life of the SS-25 was extended to 21 years after a series of successful test launches last year, 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 earlier said 36 mobile Topol ICBMs were dismantled in 2007 under close monitoring by U.S. inspectors.

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