Putin Unveils New Command Post for Russia’s Strategic Nukes as New START’s Fate Hangs in Balance

© Sputnik / Aleksey Nikolskyi / Go to the mediabankRussian President Vladimir Putin meets with the defenсe ministry leadership, heads of federal agencies and defenсe industry enterprises at the Bocharov Ruchei residence in the resort city of Sochi, Russia.
Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with the defenсe ministry leadership, heads of federal agencies and defenсe industry enterprises at the Bocharov Ruchei residence in the resort city of Sochi, Russia. - Sputnik International
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In October, the Russian President proposed extending the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or New START, for one year without any preconditions. US National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien shot the idea down out of hand. The arms treaty will expire in February 2021 unless Moscow and Washington can agree to renew it.

A new, “almost absolutely” protected command centre for Russia’s strategic nuclear forces is nearing the final stages of construction, and will allow Moscow to issue a retaliatory attack order even after being hit in a nuclear first strike, Russian President Vladimir Putin has revealed.

“I have been informed that a new command post with almost absolute protection, including against strategic nuclear forces, is in the final stages of construction,” Putin said, speaking with officials from the Ministry of Defence, defence enterprises and other officials on Wednesday.

“It is important that all equipment, material, and communications systems for controlling nuclear forces continue to be modern, simple and reliable, like a Kalashnikov rifle, and be consistently upgraded according to plan,” Putin added.

According to the President, much has already been done in recent years to keep the control systems for Russia’s strategic arsenal “maintained at the highest level,” with both stationary and mobile command posts undergoing modernisation to expand their operational capabilities, including elements such as resistance to jamming/electromagnetic interference.

“Today, all command posts allow for the receipt of comprehensive data on the situation in real time and, on the basis of this information, assess the situation and make informed decisions,” Putin said, stressing that the combat readiness of Russia’s nuclear triad depends on its sustainability in the event of war.
© Sputnik / Russian Defence Ministry  / Go to the mediabankLaunch of the Sarmat heavy intercontinental ballistic missile from the Plesetsk launch site
Putin Unveils New Command Post for Russia’s Strategic Nukes as New START’s Fate Hangs in Balance - Sputnik International
Launch of the Sarmat heavy intercontinental ballistic missile from the Plesetsk launch site

New START Hangs Under the Sword of Damocles

Putin’s comments follow remarks he made on Tuesday about the importance of saving the New START agreement, where he reiterated that Moscow would not be dragged into a new “exhausting” arms race with Washington. At the same time, Putin indicated that Russia would continue to upgrade its nuclear arsenal, which he called the main guarantor of the country’s security.

The 39th and final B-52G Stratofortress, tail number 58-0224, accountable under the New START Treaty (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) with Russia, is shown at the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group boneyard Thursday, May 21, 2015 at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Ariz. The United States cut the tails off 39 B-52G's in order to remove them from treaty accountability, as they still count as nuclear-capable delivery platforms with their tails attached. The tails are angled at 30 degrees so Russian satellites can view compliance. Tail number 58-0224, nicknamed Sweet Tracy, flew combat missions over North Vietnam in Operation Linebacker II, which began Dec. 18, 1972 and lasted 11 nights. This particular B-52G, 58-0224, targeted the Yen Vien Railroad Yards and the Hanoi Railroad Repair Yards. At the time, bomber was stationed in Guam.  - Sputnik International
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US Rejection of Putin's New START Extension Proposal Lacks Deep Analysis, Russian Envoy Says
In October, amid a deadlock in negotiations on New START, Putin proposed extending the treaty for another year without any preconditions. Washington dismissed the proposal as a “non-starter.” With the Trump administration pulling out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) last year, New START is now the last major strategic arms agreement between the nuclear superpowers.

Russia has committed vast material and scientific resources to upgrading its nuclear arsenal over the past two decades, reacting to a number of US decisions, including Washington’s move to pull out of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2002, and the creation of missile defence systems in Eastern Europe. In the early 2000s, Pentagon planners began dabbling with the concept of a ‘Prompt Global Strike’ – or the idea of carrying out a massed precision-guided conventional strike to decapitate an adversary’s defences and nuclear response capability.  Russia has responded by creating a range of nuclear-capable hypersonic weapons capable of outmanoeuvring any existing or prospective missile defence systems, hence guaranteeing a nuclear response capability.

© Photo : Russian Defence MinistryAvangard hypersonic missile system
Putin Unveils New Command Post for Russia’s Strategic Nukes as New START’s Fate Hangs in Balance - Sputnik International
Avangard hypersonic missile system

Russia’s nuclear doctrine commits Moscow commits not to be the first to use nuclear weapons in the event of war. At the same time, Russia reserves the right to retaliate in response to conventional aggression so severe that it threatens the survival of the state.

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