Wednesday, February 13, 2008

People who live in glass houses…

Russian President Vladimir Putin ratified yesterday a Russian-Ukrainian agreement to extend the service life of RS-20 (SS-18 Satan) intercontinental ballistic missiles. The law passed the Duma and the Federation Council on January 25 and January 30, respectively. RIA Novosti reports:

The agreement was coordinated during a visit by the Ukrainian defense minister to Moscow in 2006 and established that Ukraine would assist Russia in maintaining systems that have been on combat duty for the past 15 years for a further 10-15 years.

With this agreement in force, Russia will not need to decommission the existing missiles and manufacture more new Topol-M systems, which would increase the defense budget by $3-4 billion.

Still on the same day, Vladimir Putin expressed his appreciation for the Ukrainian assistance in a unique way with his Ukrainian counterpart being present: he said that Russia may target its missiles at Ukraine if its neighbor joins NATO and accepts the deployment of parts of the U.S. missile defense shield. Putin called the idea of targeting Ukrainian territory frightening but also referred to the "need to take retaliatory action". So Russia comes up with its own axis-of-evil: Poland, Czech Republic and Ukraine. I doubt that we have reached the end. Georgia might also be a perfect candidate.

After the extension of his target-list, Mr. Putin had warned that a "new phase in the arms race is unfolding in the world". People who live in glass houses… :

In 1998 the country founded its cooperation with India on the BrahMos cruise missile. These missiles were fielded with the Indian Navy and Army in 2006 and 2007, respectively. On January 1, 2008 the Indian Defense Ministry announced that the BrahMos would be soon supplied to the air force for Russian-built multi-role Su-30MKI fighters. It was also announced that the Brahmos-2 will be produced in the coming five years, lowering earlier predictions be two years. At five times the speed of sound, the BrahMos-2 will be fast enough to overcome any air defense system.

Picture: © AP, Russian RS-18 ballistic missile in a silo in Kazakhstan

No comments: