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Russia Looks To Bolster Nuclear Capability in 2010

Russia said Friday it plans to spend $15 billion to expand and maintain its military arsenal and related equipment in 2010, with a specific focus on strategic systems, RIA Novosti reported (see GSN, Aug. 3).

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin called defense spending "one of the budget priorities" for next year. An allocation of $15 billion would represent a 1.2 percent increase from the defense order in the present budget.

Moscow's defense priorities for the coming year, Putin said, should be "maintenance and development of the nuclear capability and missile and space defense forces, providing troops with modern offensive weapons, as well as command and control, communication and intelligence systems, and strengthening military infrastructure in key strategic sectors."

Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov said the funds for the construction and maintenance of weapons and equipment -- particularly strategic missiles, warships, warplanes and submarines -- would be formally requested later this month (RIA Novosti, Aug. 7).

The boost in defense contracts would come in spite of Russia's struggling economy, Putin said.

"Despite the difficult conditions in which we find ourselves today and which are due to the crisis, we have still succeeded not only in maintaining, but also raising the total volume of military orders by 1.2 percent," he said (Agence France-Presse/Georgian Daily, Aug. 7).

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