U.S., Russia Modernizing Nuclear Weapons, Risking New Cold War Rivalry

Both the U.S. and Russia increased their arsenal of deployed nuclear weapons last year, investing in new systems and modernizing old ones. New Russian missile systems and advanced submarines, some of which violate cold war weapons control treaties, are also creating fears within in U.S. In the backdrop of Russia’s failing economy and the invasion of Ukraine, many worry about what the future holds.

According to Reuters, Vladimir Putin spoke to a pro-Kremlin youth camp on Russia’s stockpile of nuclear weapons, explaining, “Russia’s partners…should understand it’s best not to mess with us.”

“Thank God, I think no one is thinking of unleashing a large-scale conflict with Russia. I want to remind you that Russia is one of the leading nuclear powers.”

To make sure Russia stays a leading nuclear power, the Kremlin has invested heavily in its arsenal. According to the Guardian, most disturbing for U.S. officials have been the delivery systems. The production of advanced nuclear-capable submarines has grown rapidly; likewise the country is developing new medium-range cruise missiles, able to strike Europe with little or no warning.

The U.S. claims that the cruise missile system is a violation of the 1987 intermediate-range nuclear forces (INF) treaty. In a contentious hearing on December 10, congressional Republicans ripped the administration and its lead weapons control negotiators, the State Department’s Rose Gottemoeller, and the Pentagon’s Brian McKeon, for not adequately responding to the cruise missile threat.

Gottemoeller claims that they had contacted their people in Russia “dozens of times” about the new cruise missile, but to no avail. President Obama also wrote to Vladimir Putin to convince him to honor the INF treaty, which was equally ineffective.

Now the U.S. is threatening to deploy its own cruise missile systems to Europe, 23 years after their removal. The U.S. military is also testing experimental “blimps” over Washington D.C. Known as JLENS, the blimps are designed to be able to better detect oncoming cruise missiles.

The systems may become more vital, as Russia continues upgrading not only cruise missiles, but the submarines to carry them.

The Guardian reports that the Kremlin has been rapidly increasing its fleet of new stealth submarines, known as “boomers,” which are equal in performance to U.S. subs.

The fleet of nuclear submarines now makes regular patrols through the Atlantic. As previously reported by the Inquisitr, what many believe to be a Russian submarine was recently spotted off the coast of Scotland, leading to a hurried and unsuccessful effort to track the vessel.

Peter Roberts, retired Royal Navy commanding officer, says that Scotland is a regular stop for the submarines, known as “akula.”

“The Russians usually put out a sortie with an Akula or an Akula II around Christmas … It normally stops off Scotland, and then through the Bay of Biscay and out over the Atlantic. It will have nuclear-capable missiles on it.”

To go along with the new arsenals of nuclear weapons, both the U.S. and Russia are increasing their hostile rhetoric.

The Republican-controlled House of Representatives recently passed House Resolution 758, ripping the Russian invasion of the Ukraine and calling on the president and foreign allies to do everything possible, short of armed confrontation with Russian forces, to restore Ukraine’s borders.

Pravda, a former pro-soviet news outlet, published its own blustering piece titled, “Russia prepares nuclear surprise for NATO.”

“Russia reached parity with the U.S. in the field of strategic nuclear weapons. Thus, Washington admitted that Moscow regained the status that the Soviet Union had obtained by mid-70’s of the XX century and then lost.”

With both sides investing in new nuclear weapons, and throwing around hostile language, the future of Russia-U.S. relations looks bleak.

[Image Credit: Goodvint/Wikimedia Commons]