Accessibility links

Putin: Russia Developing New Kind of Nuclear Missile

Russian President Vladimir Putin says his country is developing a new type of nuclear missile. Mr. Putin spoke at an annual meeting of the armed forces' senior leadership.

President Putin says research is underway on developing new nuclear missiles as part of the effort to improve Russia's armed forces.

Speaking at a meeting of senior military leaders, Mr. Putin said international terrorism is one of the major threats facing Russia.

But he added the country cannot ignore nuclear threats and the need to develop new missiles.

President Putin said the new systems will be unlike any that other nuclear powers have. He said they will be deployed 'in the future,' but did not say when. The Russian leader did not provide any further details.

But Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said recently that Russia plans to test-fire a new version of its light-weight ballistic Topol-M missile soon. The Topols have a range of about 6000 miles and reportedly can be maneuvered to avoid detection.

Russia is also reported to be developing another heavy nuclear missile.

President Putin has repeatedly promised to build up Russia's military power, which went into decline after the collapse of the Soviet Union due to financial problems.

Defense Analyst Ivan Safranchuk at the Center for Defense Information in Moscow says while terrorism has long driven Russian defense policy, now Mr. Putin is responding to those who are concerned about nuclear threats.

"The nuclear lobby here in Russia found its way to the president's ear," he noted. "Then he had to introduce the suggestions of the nuclear lobby in some way."

Mr. Safranchuk says he does not think Mr. Putin was sending any direct warning to other countries, especially the United States.

But the speech does come just a few days before Mr. Putin is due to meet with President Bush at the Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in Chile.