Adding to the heightened tensions with the international community over arms sales to Iran, the spat with the United States over the installation of anti-missile defense in Poland and the Czech Republic, and the Kosovo situation, Russia has racheted up the heat with the unveiling of plans to spend $189 billion on 17 new ballistic missiles. The Russians plan to deploy 34 more silo-based Topol-M missiles You’ve got to love the Russian’s sense of timing on this one. From the Journal:
President Vladimir Putin and other Russian officials have described the Topol-M as a bulwark of Russia’s nuclear might for years to come, and hailed its ability to penetrate any prospective missile defenses. Mr. Putin last week dismissed Washington’s claims that missile-defense sites it hopes to establish in Poland and the Czech Republic were intended to counter threats posed by Iran, and said that Russia would respond by developing even more efficient weapons systems. A rising tide of oil revenues gave Russia a chance to increase its defense spending following a desperate money shortage that plagued the military throughout the 1990s. “The economic growth and the scientific achievements allow us to reach a qualitatively new level in military procurement,” Mr. Ivanov said. Russia’s defense budget which stood at 214 billion rubles in 2001 nearly quadrupled to 821 billion this year, Mr. Ivanov said.