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Russian missile designer criticizes New START dependence on missile defense

MOSCOW. March 17 (Interfax) - Tying the levels of strategic weapons in Russia and the U.S. to prospects of the U.S. missile defense system in the Russian-U.S. Treaty on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms, known also as New START, was a mistake, said Yury Solomonov, the general designer of the Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology, the constructor of the Bulava sea-based strategic missile.

Missile Defense Launch"In my view, tying these things is not just fundamentally wrong, but we are stepping on the same rake we did in 1983 in relation to Ronald Reagan's well-known SDI program," Solomonov said at a press conference at the Interfax main office on Thursday.

"It took me huge efforts at the time to persuade the leadership of the military-industrial commission and people from the Central Committee (of the Soviet Communist Party) that the SDI's essence, as declared by U.S. media, was based on absolutely hypothetical things," Solomonov said.

However, this information "was immediately transformed into the Defense Ministry's requirements regarding the systems we were developing, and all we had been working on for several years was dashed, and they demanded more financing," he said.

"Meanwhile, the Americans produced nothing of what they declared about the SDI but research and experiments, while we, instead of responding with the same, built missile systems," Solomonov said.

"Following the same way, we will step on the same rake. And the declarations (by the U.S.) just confirm once again that history does not teach our leaders anything," he said.

Efficiency and cost of strategic nuclear forces should be treated as the only criteria in planning their development, as is done worldwide, he said.

"If we don't do so, we make a mistake again and again in thinking that the state's resources - not only financial but also material and intellectual ones - can be wasted in an absolutely incompetent way," he said.

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