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Russia to Field Robots to Guard Nuclear Missiles

A robot lifts a rucksack containing a bomb shortly before it exploded in downtown Moscow, circa July 2003. Russia plans to field robots this year to guard its nuclear-armed missile sites. A robot lifts a rucksack containing a bomb shortly before it exploded in downtown Moscow, circa July 2003. Russia plans to field robots this year to guard its nuclear-armed missile sites. (Denis Sinyakov/AFP/Getty Images)

Russia on Wednesday announced the military would begin fielding robots this year to guard the country's strategic nuclear missile sites, RIA Novosti reported.

Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Dmitry Andreyev said the mobile, unmanned security systems would be deployed at five missile-launch sites around the country.

"In March, the Russian Strategic Missile Forces began testing mobile robotic systems being developed to protect key ... installations," he said.

The robots can provide backup to security guards, discover intruders, "destroy" moving targets and conduct surveillance missions, the spokesman said.

The U.S. Energy Department similarly has used robots to patrol remote areas of its former nuclear-weapons testing grounds in Nevada.

The move to improve site security at Russian nuclear weapon sites comes amid a sharp rise in East-West tensions not seen since the end of the Cold War. NATO and the United States have stepped up their military presence in countries bordering Ukraine. Russia thus far has refused European and American demands to withdraw its military presence from Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula.

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