A Delta-IV class submarine in the Barents Sea. Photo: Thomas Nilsen (The Barents Observer)
FoxTrot Alpha: Russia Is Beefing Up Its Nuclear Weapons In The Arctic At The Worst Possible Moment
Russia has deployed 215 more nuclear warheads than allowed by the New START treaty, setting itself up to violate a provision that goes into effect next year. Surely this will end well.
New START allows 1,500 deployed warheads, with that goal supposed to be reached in February 2018, and it’s designed to help both the U.S. and Russia know what each country has as far as its stockpiles. It also allows verification to ensure both nations are honoring their obligations, with on-site inspections and data exchanges are required. The regime is extremely intrusive and, arguably, has helped avoid another Cold War, if you consider how unstable relations would be if neither Washington nor Moscow knew what the other country had.
And right now, the two parties are supposed to be working to reduce their number of deployed warheads, not actively increasing them. But it looks like Russia is doing the latter.
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WNU Editor: The Kola Peninsula has always been the main region where Russia's sea based nuclear forces have been stationed. It is also near the Arctic .... so yes .... any buildup there can be argued that it is a buildup in the Arctic. Is Russia modernizing and building up its nuclear forces .... definitely. Is it in violation of the New START treaty .... the answer is no. The provisions of the treaty are suppose to kick in on February 2018, and Russia has already committed itself to those numbers. If by this time next year that is not the case, we can then make the claim that the understanding behind the treaty has been breached. But for now .... no.
Update: For more info on Russia's build-up of its nuclear force .... Nukes, Subs and Missiles: How Russia Plans to Challenge America's Military Dominance (National Interest).