A new report on the status of Russia’s “modernization” of its nuclear weapons stockpile warns that there’s a lot of concern about that nation’s willingness to use nukes early in a conflict, to intimidate an adversary into not even responding to an attack, according to Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.

A document posted at the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists says, “Reports about the emergence of a Russian ‘escalate-to-de-escalate’ strategy have fueled perceptions in the West of a government with a greater readiness – even willingness – to use nuclear weapons on a limited scale early in a conflict.”

The report continued, “Retired U.S. Navy Adm. Cecil Haney, then commander of STRATCOM, said in March 2016 that Russia is ‘declaring and recklessly demonstrating its willingness to escalate to de-escalate if required.’ Others have suggested that Russian leaders are signaling a willingness to use nuclear weapons even before an adversary retaliates against a Russian conventional attack by ’employing the threat of selective and limited use of nuclear weapons to forestall opposition to potential aggression’ (emphasis added). (Miller 2015).”

“The implication is that Russia would potentially use nuclear weapons first to scare an adversary from even defending itself,” the report said.

“The public evidence for such a radical shift is scarce, however, and U.S. and NATO officials have so far not presented public evidence of one. Clearly, more factual information is needed about how Russia views the role of its nuclear weapons.”

The report by scientists Hans M. Kristensen and Robert Norris said, “whatever its nuclear strategy is, Russia seems to be administering it more dynamically and offensively than it did a decade ago. Russian officials have made many statements about the possible use of nuclear weapons that appear to go beyond the published doctrine, threatening to potentially use them in situations that do not meet the conditions described.”

The report also described Russia’s efforts to modernize its programs and stockpiles, but warned there may be obstacles because of that nation’s economic doldrums.

The “broad modernization” that is going on in Russia is contributing “to growing concern abroad about Russian intentions,” but, in fact, “is likely to be challenged by the country’s financial crisis,” the report linked from the Federation of American Scientists, said.

The nation’s nuclear strategy states it has the right “to employ nuclear weapons in response to the use against it and/or its allies of nuclear and other kinds of weapons of mass destruction.”

That has not changed much over the years, the report said.

But the hint of a threat is there.

“For example, officials have made threats to use nuclear weapons against ballistic missile-defense facilities, and in regional scenarios that do not threaten Russia’s survival or involve attacks with weapons of mass destruction. Russia has also conducted offensive exercises that involve simulation of nuclear weapons use, including against Sweden, which does not have nuclear weapons, is not a member of NATO, and does not have the military capability to threaten Russia’s existence,” it said.

For the rest of this report, and more, please go to Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.


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