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Nuclear force remains central to Russia's defence

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Subject

Russian nuclear forces

Significance

Maintaining a powerful nuclear arsenal is one of Russia's main goals. Such weapons are seen as a counter-weight to US military power, NATO and China. Despite the country's growing economic problems, Russia's defence budget was increased to 87.83 billion dollars in 2013 from 2012's 81.07 billion dollars, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. Nuclear capability is also regarded as a deterrent to Western military interventions in regional conflicts such as Ukraine and Georgia, and as a means to support Russia's claim to be a global power. According to the latest exchange of information on each side's nuclear warheads, Russia has for the first time more deployed nuclear warheads than the United States. However, Washington has more strategic delivery vehicles such as long-range ballistic missiles and strategic bombers.

Impacts

  • Russia is modernising nuclear delivery systems but overall numbers are down as older systems are retired faster than they can be replaced.
  • Prospects for another arms control agreement in the next few years are low.
  • Russia will push for creating an independent arms industry so it is not reliant on foreign suppliers.
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