President Vladimir Putin has announced the addition of 40 new intercontinental ballistic missiles to Russia’s nuclear arsenal.
Speaking at the opening of the Army-2015 Expo near Moscow, he said that “more than 40 new intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) able to overcome even the most technically advanced anti-missile defence systems” would be added to Russia’s nuclear arsenal this year. The Russian President’s statement at the international military forum is intended to show Moscow’s military might amid escalating tensions with NATO. An early warning system to monitor in ‘western directions’ for signs of a surprised Allied attack was also announced. This should put the world back to the era of nuclear brinkmanship of decades past, between the former Soviet Union and NATO. The spectre of nuclear war due to accident or foolishness is once again on the cards for the future generation.
It all started when Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula after the velvet revolution in Ukraine. Russia blames the interference of western powers in the Ukrainian conflict right from its conception. The West blames Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea, for its support of allies in Baltic and former Warsaw Pact countries, who were once allied with the former Soviet Union. These Eastern European countries are asking for support from NATO now and have no wish to be dominated again by their neighbour to the east.
The irony is that the modern Russian is not very proud of the communist era of the past Soviet Union, and considers the communist experiment as an unnecessary burden which was also imposed from the outside on Russia through a velvet revolution. Since loosing 27 million lives in WWII, the Russians are now reverting to brute force to keep any perceived threat at bay. The era of diplomacy has given way to trash talk among statesmen, officials and reporters. It comes at the cost of the spectre of nuclear holocaust for the world’s population. The East and the West need to settle past disputes once and for all and start nuclear disarmament talks, instead of waiting for it to become a priority, as it used to be at the height of the former cold war.
The Independent reports:
The Army-2015 fair is held to show off the latest developments in Russian military hardware, and Mr Putin promised generals an array of other new weapons – including the advanced Armata tanks that were shown off at a Red Square parade last month.
The president also announced that the military was beginning testing a new system of long-range early warning radar “to monitor in the western direction”.
After Mr Putin’s address, Russia’s deputy defence minister Anatoly Antonov told Russia Today his country was being “pushed into an arms race” by Nato.
Referencing apparent US plans to bolster its military presence in eastern Europe, he said: “I believe the [US] statement must be looked at together with other similar statements, which have recently been numerous.
“A few days ago, reports started to turn up about certain [American] missiles put in a certain location and about certain ammunition depots in Eastern European countries and the Baltic.
He added: “It looks like our colleagues from Nato member states are pushing us into an arms race.”
Few countries in the world are known to possess land-based missiles capable of crossing continents. The US operates 450 Minuteman missiles across three bases, while Russia’s existing arsenal is believed to be slightly greater.
ICBMs are needed to deliver nuclear warheads over long distances, and some are capable of delivering more than one. Though Russia is less than open about its military stockpiles, it is thought to possess more than 8,000 warheads in total.
Mr Putin’s announcement, which included a general pledge to continue Russia’s “massive” military rearmament programme, comes amid the worst tensions between the West and Russia in decades.
On Monday, Russian defence ministry official General Yuri Yakubov said that US proposals to bolster an allied army on Polish soil would be “the most aggressive step by the Pentagon and Nato since the Cold War”.
“Russia will have no option but to build up its forces and resources on the Western strategic front,” Interfax news agency quoted him as saying.
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