The Pointed Threat Of Russia's Nukes In Belarus

(MENAFN- Asia Times) Russia is reported to have deployed nuclear weapons in Bela, a step that was much telegraphed earlier this year and recently confirmed by Poland. This move has caused concern in neighboring countries and has affected security arrangements in Europe.

Russia reportedly has the world's biggest nuclear arsenal , with (as of 2023) 5,889 nuclear warheads compared with 5,244 deployed by the US. But size (or, more accurately, numbers of warheads) should not be important.

Nuclear deterrence theory – with its related notion of mutually assured destruction – should mean no country wants to fire weapons first as it would pretty much guarantee its own destruction (along with much of the rest of the planet).

That said, the rhetoric from the Russian leadership since the invasion of Ukraine has regularly raised the threat of Russia's nuclear stockpile.

Both Vladimir Putin and the deputy chair of his national security council (and former president), Dmitry Medvedev , have made threatening comments , including this from Putin in September 2021:“If the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, we will without doubt use all available means to protect Russia and our people – this is not a bluff.”

Different classes of nuclear weapons

This idea of mutually assured destruction is linked to strategic nuclear weapons , which can be used to strike big targets – such as cities – more than 3,500km away and which carry huge payloads.

But the weapons reportedly being stationed in Belaby Russia are tactical nuclear weapons (TNWs). It's estimated that Russia has 2,000 working tactical warheads , and currently it is not clear how many will ultimately end up in Belarus.


Asia Times

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