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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

$3.1Bln Missile Upkeep

MOSCOW -- It costs Russia 70 billion rubles ($3.1 billion) a year to maintain its multiple-warhead intercontinental ballistic missiles, the chairman of the State Duma's defense committee, Roman Popkovich, was quoted as saying in an interview with Krasnaya Zvezda newspaper published Tuesday.

The expense was one of his arguments in favor of ratifying the START II treaty with the United States.

"Its approval and the speedy transition to START III talks are 10 times more important for us than for the United States," Popkovich said.

If Moscow does not ratify START II, "tomorrow we will face the need to develop anti-missile defense [and] warning systems ... which will be a much heavier burden for Russia than spending on the implementation of START II," he said.