SOCHI, November 27 (RIA Novosti) – Twenty-two land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles will next year be added to Russia’s nuclear arsenal, President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday.
“We intend to continue prioritizing the development of the main component of our strategic nuclear deterrent,” Putin said at a meeting on the development of the Russian Strategic Missile Forces.
Putin did not specify the type of new ICBMs to be deployed, but a source in the Defense Ministry told RIA Novosti on condition of anonymity that the missiles will be mobile and silo-based Yars ICBMs.
Yars is armed with the multiple-warhead RS-24 intercontinental ballistic missile, which has considerably better combat and operational capabilities than the Topol-M (SS-27 Stalin).
Russia currently deploys an estimated 326 ICBMs with approximately 1,050 warheads, according to a June report by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.
In line with the New START treaty signed in 2010, Russia is allowed to add 227 delivery systems and 150 warheads to its stockpile of nuclear weapons.
According to the recent State Duma Defense Committee report on the draft federal budget for 2014-2016, Russia plans to increase annual spending on nuclear weapons by more than 50 percent in the next three years.
The report said 46.26 billion rubles ($1.4 billion) is to be spent on Russia’s nuclear weapons systems in 2016, up from 29.29 billion rubles this year.
The Defense Ministry earlier announced plans to retire most of its outdated SS-18 Satan, SS-19 Stiletto and SS-25 Sickle (Topol) ICBMs and replace them with SS-27 Sickle-B (Topol-M) and RS-24Yars missiles by 2021.