Russia Ups Nuclear Missile Troop Drills by 50 Percent

Russia Ups Nuclear Missile Troop Drills by 50 Percent

Russia Ups Nuclear Missile Troop Drills

Russia is to up the number of nuclear training drills it holds by 50 percent over the next year.

The increase will affect Russian troops of all military branches, including the Strategic Missile Troops (RVSN), responsible for maintaining the nation’s nuclear and non-atomic warheads.

Russia revamped its training exercises in the wake of its diplomatic fallout with the West over events in Ukraine in 2014—an incident that saw the country’s pro-Russian leadership toppled by a wave of pro-EU protesters.

The Kremlin responded by accusing the West of organizing the protests, before annexing Crimea from Ukraine and backing a pro-Russian insurgency in East Ukraine.

The Ministry of Defense has subsequently held more snap and mass drills to reflect the new militarized climate, and has stated that 2017 will see a further increase.

During each of the two annual training periods—held in the winter and summer—the troops will undergo 40 test deployments across the country in a bid to reach the highest possible battle readiness levels.
Russia’s missile drills have concerned neighbors and commentators in the past. However, experts such as former U.S. ambassador Steven Pifer have emphasized the need to look beyond Moscow’s nuclear posturing.

Pifer has claimed that Russia’s nuclear modernisation is nearing its end due to budget cuts, and has argued that the U.S. still outmatches Russia in its ability to store and deploy nuclear warheads. Full Story

Russia Ups Nuclear Missile Troop Drills due to heightened tensions

A cruise missile, powered by nuclear technology, that can reach the United States. Nuclear weapons that can evade any missile defense system. Unstoppable drone submarines that can be used to blow up foreign ports.

Those are the weapons Russian President Vladimir Putin claims he now has. If true, Putin has purposefully raised the stakes in the decades-long nuclear standoff between Washington and Moscow — threatening to worsen deteriorating ties between Russia and the West.

Putin spent much of his annual state of the nation speech on Thursday talking about Russia’s improving weapons arsenal. He even went so far as to show a video of nuclear missiles striking Florida.

Experts say the most impressive new weapon he revealed is a nuclear-powered cruise missile that can hit any point on Earth. (That’s big: conventional cruise missiles rarely travel more than 600 miles.) This kind of weapon moves so quickly and flies so low to the ground that it could evade US and European missile defense systems and hit intended targets with a nuclear weapon. Putin said this new technology renders American missile defense “useless,” but US officials still say it needs further testing and is not yet operational.

The Defense Department sees it differently. “We’re not surprised by [Putin’s] statements,” top Pentagon spokesperson Dana White told reporters on Thursday, “and the American people should rest assured that we are fully prepared.” Full Story

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