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Kremlin denies Soviet Union supplied warheads with sarin to other countries

September 18, 2013, 17:29 UTC+3

The warheads found by UN experts were made between 1950 and 1960, according to Russian Presidential Chief of Staff Sergei Ivanov

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Photo ITAR-TASS/Sergei Nikolsky

Photo ITAR-TASS/Sergei Nikolsky

VALDAI, September 18 (Itar-Tass) - Soviet warheads with sarin were not supplied to any country, Russian Presidential Chief of Staff Sergei Ivanov said.

“Since I was Defense Minister for six years, (I know that) such inscriptions (in Cyrillic) were put on surface-to-surface rockets in the Soviet Union. They were made between 1950 and 1960. Old, very dilapidated,” Ivanov said on Wednesday, September 18.

“During that period these rockets were supplied to dozens of countries, for example, to Libya. But the Soviet Union never supplied warheads with sarin to anyone,” he said.

The UN experts who had investigated the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria said in their report released by the United Nations on Monday, September 16, that one of the shells fired at Damascus’ suburb matched one of the variants of the M14 artillery rocket, with either an original or an improvised warhead.

A photograph contained in one of the annexes to the report clearly showed the Cyrillic letters and numbers “Г ИШ 4 25 - 6 7 - 179 К” engraved on the projectile. The experts said it had exploded in Moadamiyah, Ghouta area, on the outskirts of Damascus.

Other exploded projectiles were also found in the Ghouta area, which could have been both homemade and commercially produced.

The 140-mm projectiles M14 were designed for the RPU-14 multiple rocket launcher system adopted by the Soviet army in 1956. Projectiles can be provided with a fragmentation warhead, a chemical warhead or a white phosphorous warhead.

Since the mid-1960s, these systems started to be replaced with a newer system, Grad. As of 2010, RPU-14 systems were still in the arsenals of several countries, including Afghanistan, Algeria, Egypt, and Yemen. The systems were supplied to Syria in 1967-1969 but are no longer in service.

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