61 new warheads since April under New START
Russia increased its deployed nuclear warheads over the past six months under a strategic arms reduction treaty as U.S. nuclear warhead stocks declined sharply, according to the State Department.
During the same period, the United States cut its deployed nuclear warheads by 114, increasing the disparity between the two nuclear powers.
Russia’s warhead increases since 2011 suggest Moscow does not intend to cut its nuclear forces and will abandon the New START arms accord as part of a major nuclear buildup.
“It is now highly unlikely that Russia intends to comply with New START,” said Mark Schneider, a former Pentagon nuclear weapons specialist now with the National Institute for Policy.
At the same time, the Obama administration is continuing a program of unilateral nuclear disarmament despite promises by President Obama to modernize and maintain U.S. nuclear forces as long as strategic dangers are present.
The nuclear buildup is raising new fears Russia plans to break out of New START treaty limits rather than comply with the accord. Russian forces have deployed 249 warheads above the warhead limit set by the treaty to be reached by February 2018.
Since the treaty went into force in 2011, Moscow increased its total warhead stockpile from 1,537 warheads to 1,796 warheads, an increase of 259 warheads.
By contrast, the Obama administration has cut U.S. nuclear forces by 433 warheads during the same period.
Air Force Gen. John E. Hyten, nominee to be the next commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, warned the Senate during a hearing last month that Russia is modernizing both its strategic and tactical nuclear weapons.
“It seems clear that Russia has been making large investments in its nuclear weapon programs as well as modernizing both its strategic and non-strategic nuclear weapons,” Hyten stated in answers to questions posed by the Senate Armed Services Committee.
“In addition to advancing nuclear capabilities, Russia is emphasizing new regional and strategic approaches, and declaring and demonstrating its ability to escalate if required,” he added. “Collectively, Russian development of advancing weapons capabilities and its evolving warfighting doctrine is concerning.”
While U.S. nuclear forces are very old and in need of modernization, Russian nuclear forces are being modernized. By 2020, nuclear missile submarines, land-based missiles, and bombers will be modernized, with 70 percent of the nuclear forces replaced with advanced systems, according to U.S. officials.
In a related development, Russia announced on Tuesday it is abandoning a 2000 agreement to reduce stockpiles of plutonium originally intended for nuclear weapons.
Full article: Russia Adds Hundreds of Warheads Under Nuclear Treaty (Washington Free Beacon)