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Report: Russia has deployed more medium-range cruise missiles than previously thought

New surface-to-air missile 9M317 of 9K317 Buk-M2E. (Yuriy Lapitskiy/Flickr)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

Russia has deployed its controversial 9M729 cruise missile at more locations than previously thought, a German newspaper reports.

Citing an unidentified Western intelligence source, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung (FAZ) said on February 10 that missile battalions were stationed in Mozdok in North Ossetia and in Shuya, close to Moscow.

That’s in addition to a training battalion stationed at the rocket-testing development site in Kapustin Yar in southern Russia and one in Kamyshlov, east of Yekaterinburg, the paper said.

On February 2, the United States announced that it will withdraw from a key Cold War-era nuclear arms control agreement, after Washington and NATO repeatedly accused Moscow of violating the accord by developing the 9M729 cruise missile, also known as the SSC-8.

Russia, which denies the accusation, said it was also withdrawing from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, which banned both countries from developing, producing, and deploying ground-launched cruise or ballistic missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometers.

Each of Russia’s four 9M729 battalions has four launchers on wheels, each of which had four missiles, according to FAZ.

That means Russia has at least 64 such missiles, which can be armed either with conventional or nuclear warheads, according to the newspaper.

With a range of up to 2,350 kilometers, FAZ said, the missile in their current positions could reach Eastern and Northern Europe.

And moving the weapons systems could put the whole of Europe within range with the exception of Portugal, the paper wrote.

Russia claims its missile has a range of 480 kilometers.