Days after Moscow suspended its participation in the New START nuclear treaty, a Russian military journal suggested that the country should develop a new military strategy using its nuclear weapons.
The military journal stated that Moscow could develop a novel military strategy using nuclear weapons to deter potential American aggression, Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported on March 2.
According to the report, the article published in the Voennaya Mysl (Military Thought) journal concluded that Washington had “apparently” prepared plans to strike and neutralize Russia because of concerns it might be losing its global dominance.
In response, Russian military experts were “actively developing a promising form of the strategic use of the Russian armed forces – an operation of strategic deterrence forces,” the RIA report said. The article then suggests that Moscow needs to be able to demonstrate to the US that it couldn’t cripple Russia’s nuclear missile system and that a Russian retaliatory strike would be inevitable.
Ever since Russia launched the invasion of Ukraine, the use of nuclear weapons has become a recurrent discussion, with the nuclear threat never entirely off the table.
In a separate incident, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on March 1 that the situation around the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) is causing increasing concern due to US actions. The Deputy Foreign Minister warned that Moscow would be forced to respond adequately if Washington decides to conduct nuclear tests.
“The situation around the CTBT is causing more and more concern. The responsibility for the fact that the Treaty has not entered into force for more than a quarter of a century of its existence lies, in fact, with the United States, which defiantly refused to ratify it and is showing an obvious inclination to resume testing,” – said Ryabkov, speaking at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva.
“We cannot remain indifferent to what is happening. If the United States nevertheless decides to take such a step and be the first to conduct nuclear tests, we will be forced to respond adequately. No one should have dangerous illusions that global strategic parity can be destroyed,” the Deputy Minister emphasized.
Earlier, Russian President Putin had made similar statements. Neither side has officially planned to conduct a nuclear test. However, the article in the Russian journal has shifted the focus to nuclear weapons and a hypothetical nuclear strike, a development that could further escalate tensions between the two bitter rivals.
Russian Journal’s Idea Of Nuclear Posturing
The article in the Voennaya Mysl journal notes that the Pentagon is planning a Russian defeat with an instant strike of at least 65-70% of Russian strategic nuclear forces. The remaining Russian missiles, which in this case will fly toward the United States, the Americans intend to neutralize with the help of the global missile defense system.
After this, the article postulates that the US will deliver a nuclear strike sufficient to destroy the Russian Federation.
In opposition to this plan, “domestic military experts are considering and actively developing a promising form of the strategic use of the armed forces: the operation of the strategic deterrence forces,” the article says. It notes that this type of operation “involves the use of modern strategic offensive and defensive, nuclear and non-nuclear weapons, taking into account the latest military technologies.”
Commenting on the article published in the journal, Russian Political scientist and military expert Ivan Konovalov told Sputnik radio, “The behavior of the United States complicates the state of affairs in strategic nuclear security. The readiness to counter their very dangerous actions is the prerogative of the strategic missile forces.”
Konovalov then suggests that the issue must be approached comprehensively and urges the country to explore the possible options of the US and its allies.
“This is a global multi-sphere operation. That is, not only strategic nuclear forces but also non-nuclear potential will be involved. Moreover, the capabilities of the civilian structures of the allied forces will be connected. That is, a serious global multi-sphere strike is being considered, respectively, we need to prepare based on this”, Konavalov told Sputnik Radio.
The Russian MoD is yet to comment on the article.
It is pertinent to note that since Russia launched its so-called ‘special military operation’ against Ukraine in February 2022, high-ranking officials and personnel have often indulged in nuclear saber rattling, making bellicose statements, and threatening its enemies with the use of tactical nuclear weapons.
In March 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin put the country’s strategic command on alert, invoking fears that he could order the deployment of tactical nuclear weapons. At the time, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said, “the prospect of nuclear conflict, once unthinkable, is now back within the realm of possibility.”
By October 2022, when asked whether nuclear weapons were being discussed, the Kremlin clarified that Russia was not considering using nuclear weapons, and even framing such questions was unacceptable.
However, the President has repeatedly warned that if attacked, Russia will defend its territory with all available means, including its nuclear weapons. In the absence of more specific clarification about what Putin considers an attack that could invoke a nuclear response, ambiguity has prevailed.
Further, the article comes after Moscow exited the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) that capped the number of strategic nuclear warheads that Russia and the US could deploy. Russia and the United States possess the largest nuclear stockpile in the world.
In a speech ahead of the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin said: “They want to inflict a strategic defeat on us and claim our nuclear facilities,” said Putin. “In this regard, I am forced to state that Russia is suspending its participation in the strategic offensive arms treaty.”
Against that backdrop, the commentary in the Russian journal assumes even more significance and could lead to temperatures soaring between the former Cold War adversaries.
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