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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)


Russian Strategic Weapons - Overview

As of 01 April 2005 Kommersant reported that the Strategic Missile Force of Russia had 496 ICBMs, including 226 silo-launched (86 heavy missiles R-36MUTTH and R-36M2 Voevoda, 10 medium missiles UR-100NUTTH, and 40 light missiles RS-12M2 Topol-M) and 270 mobile ground-launched missiles RS-12M Topol. By 2010, the Force may have no more than 313 ICBMs, including 154 silo-launched (40 R-36M2 Voevoda, 50 UR-100NUTTH, and 64 RS-12M2 Topol M), and 159 mobile ground-launched missiles (144 RS-12M Topol and 15 RS-12M1 Topol M). The 270 mobile ground-launched solid-fuel missiles RS-12M Topol (SS-25 Sickle in NATO classification) may be slashed to 144 in five years.

At the same time, 89 new Topol-M missiles (64 RS-12M2 and 15 RS-12M1) are to be put on combat duty, but this is nearly two times fewer than the number of ICBMs to be slashed (136). The number of warheads on the ICBMs will be reduced from 1,770 to 923. [upon close inspection these numbers don't exactly add up and are internally inconsistent, based on standard warhead loading assumptions]

As of 01 January 2006, Russia possessed 927 nuclear delivery vehicles and 4,279 nuclear warheads for strategic offensive weapons, while the United States owned 1,255 and 5,966, respectively, according to the Russian Defense Ministry.

Vladimir Putin said in November 2006 that developing Russia's strategic forces is the main priority on the national defense agenda. "Maintaining a strategic balance will mean that our strategic deterrent forces should be able to guarantee the neutralization of any potential aggressor, no matter what modern weapons systems he possesses," the president told a meeting with top military officials.

On 15 December 2006 Colonel-General Nikolai Solovtsov, commander or Russia's Strategic Missile Forces, said said his forces conducted six ICBM launches in 2006, and 12 launches are scheduled for 2007. A total of six ICBM systems of the fourth and fifth generations are on active duty, including four silo-based, RS-18, RS-20B (SS-18 Satan), RS-20V (modified SS-18 Satan), RS-12M2 (Topol-M), and two mobile systems RS-12M (Topol) and RS-12M2 (Topol-M), Solovtsov said. By the end of 2006 Russia had five missile regiments equipped with silo-based Topol-M missiles, and one regiment equipped with mobile Topol-M systems. The total number of Topol-M ICBMs, including three silo-based systems to be deployed at the Tatishchevo base, will reach 48 by the end of 2006, according to the Strategic Missile Forces Command.

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree 03 October 2016 suspending an agreement with the United States on disposing of weapons-grade plutonium.The deal, initially signed in 2000 and renewed in 2010, called for both nuclear powers to dispose of weapons-grade plutonium from their defense programs. The decree stated the move was taken due to what Moscow calls “a drastic change in circumstances, the emergence of a threat to strategic stability as a result of unfriendly actions by the United States of America with respect to the Russian Federation." It also cites what it says is Washington's failure to fulfill the obligations for the disposal of surplus weapon-grade plutonium.

In a bill submitted to the State Duma, the lower house of Russia’s parliament, the Russian president asked the country's legislators to support the suspension of the plutonium deal. The bill enumerates steps Washington could take to reverse the agreement's suspension. These include “a reduction of the military infrastructure and the size of the contingent” of U.S. troops stationed in NATO member-states in Eastern Europe, and rescinding the Magnitsky Act, which imposed sanctions on Russian officials deemed responsible for the death of Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky in a Moscow prison in 2009. It also called for the lifting of all sanctions against Moscow, which would include those imposed for its actions against Ukraine, and compensation for losses caused by those sanctions.

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law halting an agreement with the United States on the disposal of weapons-grade plutonium, a move that comes amid a continuing deterioration of bilateral ties. The law came into force on 31 October 2016, the day it was officially published by the Russian government and weeks after Putin submitted the legislation to parliament, which subsequently approved the bill. It formally suspends Russia's participation in the agreement, signed in 2000, which commits the two countries to eliminating parts of their weapons-grade plutonium stocks. The law sets preconditions for the restoration of the accord, including the lifting of all U.S. sanctions against Russia and compensation for the damage they have caused, as well as a reduction of U.S. military infrastructure and troops in Eastern Europe.




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