A Yars missile system en route to a field region at the final stage of the Strategic All-Around Competition, a field training contest in the Novosibirsk region. © Alexandr Kryazhev / Sputnik
Mark B. Schneider, RCD: Russian Nuclear Weapons Policy
Implications for U.S. Nuclear Deterrence and Missile Defense
Unlike the U.S., nuclear forces are Russia’s highest military priority. In December 2016, President Putin declared Russia is “stronger than any potential aggressor,” has modernized almost 60% of its strategic forces and directed that Russia further strengthen its nuclear Triad. In March 2017, he said that modernizing Russian military forces “concerns the strategic nuclear forces, above all.” In January 2017, Russian Defense Minister General of the Army Sergei Shoigu stated that development of the strategic nuclear force was Russia’s first priority, noting Russia will “continue a massive program of nuclear rearmament, deploying modern ICBMs on land and sea, [and] modernizing the strategic bomber force.”
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WNU Editor: The West is concerned about Russia's nuclear arsenal .... Moscow is concerned about Western missile defense .... Russian officials say U.S. global missile defense could lead to nuclear war in Europe (Tom O'Connor, Newsweek).