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Tallying up Russia’s nuclear weapons


Nuclear Notebook: How many nuclear weapons does Russia have in 2021? Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, By Hans M. KristensenMatt Korda, March 15, 2021 
  T his is a very long article.  Some introductory bits:

Russia is in the middle of a decades-long modernization of its strategic and nonstrategic nuclear forces to replace Soviet-era weapons with newer systems………

Putin also noted his disappointment with the “deterioration” of the US-Russia arms control regime, and declared that the United States withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, and the Open Skies Treaty under “contrived pretexts.”……..

As of early 2021, we estimate that Russia has a stockpile of nearly 4,500 nuclear warheads assigned for use by long-range strategic launchers and shorter-range tactical nuclear forces……

Russia has significantly reduced the number of warheads deployed on its ballistic missiles to meet the New START limit of no more than 1,550 deployed strategic warheads. Russia achieved the required reduction by the February 5, 2018 deadline, when it declared 1,444 strategic warheads attributed to 527 launchers (Russian Federation Foreign Affairs Ministry 2018)………

Russia (like the United States) could potentially upload several hundreds of extra warheads onto their launchers, but is prevented from doing so by the New START treaty limit, which has been extended for an additional five years to 2026. The treaty provides for important transparency of Russian (and U.S.) strategic nuclear forces: As of December 2020, the United States and Russia have completed a combined 328 on-site inspections and exchanged 21,293 notifications (US State Department, Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance 2020b). Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, there have been no on-site Type One or Type Two inspections since April 1st, 2020……….

What is Russia’s nuclear strategy?……….

 Russia’s publicly stated policy. In June 2020, President Putin approved an update to the “Basic Principles of State Policy of the Russian Federation on Nuclear Deterrence,” which notes that “The Russian Federation considers nuclear weapons exclusively as a means of deterrence.” The policy clearly lays out four conditions under which Russia could launch nuclear weapons:


“arrival of reliable data on a launch of ballistic missiles attacking the territory of the Russian Federation and/or its allies;

use of nuclear weapons or other types of weapons of mass destruction by an adversary against the Russian Federation and/or its allies;

attack by adversary against critical governmental or military sites of the Russian Federation, disruption of which would undermine nuclear forces response actions;

aggression against the Russian Federation with the use of conventional weapons when the very existence of the state is in jeopardy” (Russian Federation Foreign Affairs Ministry 2020).

Submarines and submarine-launched ballistic missiles

The Russian Navy operates 11 nuclear-powered nuclear-armed ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) of three classes:……….https://thebulletin.org/premium/2021-03/nuclear-notebook-russian-nuclear-weapons-2021/?utm_source=Newsletter&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=Newsletter05102021&utm_content=NuclearRisk_RussiaNotebook_03152021

May 11, 2021 - Posted by | Russia, weapons and war

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