Boosts nuclear arsenal: Russia Nuclear Arsenal
Published: June 16, 2015
Boosts nuclear arsenal: Russia Nuclear Arsenal, President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday Russia would add more than 40 new intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) to its nuclear arsenal this year, prompting NATO’s chief to accuse Moscow of dangerous “sabre-rattling”.
Putin made his announcement a day after Russian officials denounced a U.S. plan to station tanks and heavy weapons in NATO member states on Russia’s border as the most aggressive act by Washington since the Cold War a generation ago.
Tension has flared anew between Russia and Western powers over Moscow’s role in the Ukraine crisis, in which pro-Russian separatist forces have seized a large part of the country’s east after Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in early 2014.
The European Union and United States imposed economic sanctions on Russia. But Washington and Moscow are still bound by a 2010 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) that caps deployed strategic nuclear warheads at 1,550 each and limits the numbers of strategic nuclear missile launchers to 800 by 2018.
“More than 40 new intercontinental ballistic missiles able to overcome even the most technically advanced anti-missile defence systems will be added to the make-up of the nuclear arsenal this year,” Putin, flanked by army officers, said in a speech at an arms fair west of Moscow.
ICBMs have a minimum range of more than 5,500 km (3,400 miles). Putin gave no more details of which missiles were being added to the nuclear arsenal.
He has repeatedly urged Russia to maintain its nuclear deterrence to counter what he sees as growing security threats. Moscow also reserves the right to deploy nuclear arms in Crimea.
Such comments have helped whip up anti-Western sentiment and rally support behind Putin but have caused disquiet in the West, particularly countries on or near Russia’s borders that were under Soviet domination during the Cold War.
Responding quickly to Putin’s remarks, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg accused Russia of unwarranted “sabre rattling” and said this was “destabilising and dangerous”.
At a news briefing in Brussels, Stoltenberg said such rhetoric from Moscow explained the Western alliance’s increased preparedness on the part of its forces to defend its member states closest to Russia.
“This nuclear sabre-rattling of Russia is unjustified. This is something we are addressing, and it’s also one of the reasons we are now increasing the readiness and preparedness of our forces,” Stoltenberg said.
“We are responding by making sure that NATO also in the future is an alliance which provides deterrence and protection for all allies against any threat.”
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