Dec 13, 2015

Putin Tells Defense Chiefs to Strengthen Russian Nuclear Forces

Russian President Vladimir Putin talks to top Russian Army commanders during a Defense Ministry board meeting in Moscow on Friday December 11, 2015.

(BLOOMBERG)—President Vladimir Putin ordered defense chiefs to strengthen Russia's strategic nuclear forces amid rising tensions with the U.S. over the global balance of power.

New weapons should go to "all parts" of the nuclear triad of air, sea, and land forces, Putin told a Defense Ministry meeting in Moscow on Friday. Action must also be taken "to improve the effectiveness of missile-attack warning systems and aerospace defense."

Russia's military will have five new nuclear regiments equipped with modern missile complexes next year, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu told the same meeting. More than 95 percent of the country's nuclear forces are at a permanent state of readiness, he said....

About 56 percent of Russian nuclear weapons are new, including modern missiles, upgraded aircraft and a strengthened submarine capacity, Shoigu said. Russia has also expanded the military's combat capabilities by reinforcing its western and south-western army groups and building four bases in the Arctic region, he said....

Amid a conflict with NATO member Turkey over the shooting down of a Russian warplane near the Syrian border last month, Putin ordered defense officials to "react harshly" to threats to Russia's forces operating in Syria. Any such threats should face "immediate extermination," he said.

The Russian air campaign in Syria against Islamic State and other militants is aimed at protecting Russia from terrorism, and actions are being synchronized with operations of special forces against domestic threats, Putin said. Airstrikes are being coordinated with both President Bashar al-Assad's forces and those of the opposition Free Syrian Army, which has more than 5,000 troops fighting terrorists with weapons supplied by Russia, he said....

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