MOSCOW, Nov. 21 (UPI) -- A military source in the Kremlin said Wednesday the Russian military aims to deploy its latest intercontinental ballistic missile by 2014.
Russia test-fired a prototype ICBM in October. A military source told state-run news agency RIA Novosti the final version would enter service in 2014.
"According to the latest information, it will be accepted into service in 2014; the new weapon is part of a response program to the United States ballistic missile defense program," the source said.
Military commanders had said any new ICBM system wouldn't be ready until 2015. The missile would have a range of 3,500 miles and be deployed on mobile launch pads.
The U.S. and Russian governments have agreed on measures meant to reduce the number of nuclear weapons in their respective arsenals. Missile defense issues, particularly those in Eastern Europe, have been a source of contention on both sides.
Moscow says it wants legal guarantees that any missile system planned for Europe won't target Russian defense systems. Washington maintains, however, that the system is meant as a deterrent to Iran and North Korea.
The Kremlin has said it was optimistic that U.S. President Barack Obama would offer more leeway on missile defense concerns in Europe during his second term.