MOSCOW, Oct. 1 (Xinhuanet) -- Russia plans to buy four intercontinental ballistic missiles in 2005 as part of its effort to maintain a nuclear balance with the United States, Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said Friday.
"We are buying as many as necessary to maintain nuclear parity -- not Cold War-era parity but parity taking into account the security interests of the state," Ivanov said on his trip to Russia's black sea resort of Sochi, the Interfax news agency reported.
He said the four missiles will be purchased for the Strategic Missile Force which, with the navy and air force, forms Russia's military triad.
"The number of nuclear warheads is not important," Ivanov said,adding that "an international agreement determines the number of intercontinental ballistic missiles that can be employed by the Russian triad."
He said that apart from maintaining strategic parity, Russia should also keep its general-purpose forces and the anti-terror forces developing "in a balanced fashion."
Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered the modernization of Russia's armed forces, turning them into a compact and sophisticated battle force.
The US-Russian nuclear arms reduction agreement, signed in May 2002 by US President George W. Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin, obliges each side to cut its strategic nuclear arsenals by about two-thirds, to between 1,700 and 2,200 warheads, by 2012. Enditem