MOSCOW, Jan. 8 (UPI) -- Russia said it was ready to install around 20 new radar systems that will serve as part of a warning system to track ballistic missiles.
An unnamed Russian Defense Ministry spokesman said the aerospace defense forces would get 20 new radar installations this year, reports state-run news agency RIA Novosti. The report notes that new systems would be effective at detecting not only ballistic missiles by "all probable directions for a missile attack."
Russian Space Forces Col. Alexei Zolotukhin said this week that Russian forces were able to track about 40 different ballistic missiles and space rocket launches last year.
Zolotukhin said new radar station installations would start in the Siberian and central parts of the country this year. Moscow's lease at the Gabala radar station in Azerbaijan expired Dec. 24.
Missile defense emerged last year as a source of contention between Russia and the United States. The Kremlin said it viewed U.S. missile defense plans in Eastern Europe as a threat to the regional balance of power. The White House said regional deterrence is needed against rogue regimes like Iran and North Korea.