Putin Says Modernized Russian Missiles, Bombers to Deploy This Year
(Source: Radio Free Europe; issued May 16, 2018)
President Vladimir Putin touted a range of new weapons that are ready for deployment at a meeting with defense officials in Sochi on May 15, saying they will significantly increase Russia's military capabilities and "ensure a strategic balance for decades."

As relations between the West and Russia have plummeted to post-Cold War lows, Putin has maintained that he does not want an arms race, but at the same time he has warned that his country is developing a new generation of weapons that he has described as "invincible" and unmatched by foreign rivals.

Putin said that 14 of Russia's missile regiments will receive new Yars intercontinental missile complexes to replace their old Topol complexes this year, while Russia's air forces will receive modernized bombers armed with long-range cruise missiles.

"Strategic nuclear forces have key significance for defense and security," Putin said.

The army will receive a range of new armored vehicles, including the new Armata main battle tanks, he said, while the navy will commission more warships armed with Kalibr cruise missiles that the military tested during the war in Syria.

Among new weapons systems that may soon be ready for deployment is the S-500 surface-to-air antiballistic missile system, which Putin said the defense sector should soon finish developing and prepare for manufacturing.

The new S-500 missile system is designed to be precise and powerful enough to hit targets at the highest altitudes, including near space.

The construction of Russia's new Borei-class nuclear submarines , which will be armed with intercontinental ballistic missiles, must also stay on schedule, Putin said.

Despite a weak economy and depleted government finances, the Kremlin has made military modernization a top priority as its relations with the West have soured over the conflict in eastern Ukraine, the war in Syria, and many other disputes.

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