Russian Nuclear Force Expansion and the Failure of Arms Control

October 24, 2019
Story Stream
recent articles

Extending New START

Today, there is a debate over whether we should extend the New START Treaty, amend it to eliminate the loopholes, or try to negotiate an expanded agreement. As I detailed in my 2012 monograph, The New START Treaty: Anatomy of a Failed Negotiation, New START contains major loopholes and verification problems that fully negate the supposed limitations.[1] Ironically, the 2002 Moscow Treaty limits, if the warheads are counted in the same way, required a much lower strategic nuclear warhead level that what is possible under New START.

Under New START, Russia can have an unlimited number of deployed strategic nuclear weapons because:

  • The New START Treaty, unlike the START Treaty, does not constrain air-launched and surface ship-launched strategic nuclear ballistic missiles.
  • The New START Treaty, unlike the START Treaty, does not limit long-range nuclear ship-launched cruise missiles (SLCMs). Moreover, Russia is engaged in a major expansion of its force of long-range nuclear-capable SLCMs and, reportedly, may build two Borei-K strategic cruise missile submarines.[2] Borei-K submarines may carry hundreds of nuclear cruise missiles. This is in addition to the planned widespread deployment of the new nuclear-capable cruise missiles and 
  • The New START Treaty does not include any constraints on tactical or nonstrategic nuclear weapons; it also does not constrain intercontinental-range cruise missiles. Russia is now testing such a nuclear-powered cruise missile.
  • The elimination of restrictions on giving the Backfire bomber intercontinental capability allows circumvention of the basic New START Treaty limits. Russia, according to Russian state media, has multiple programs underway to give the Backfire bomber an intercontinental capability.
  • Russia says that the New START Treaty does not constrain Putin’s six new nuclear superweapons announced in 2018 and 2019.[3] In reality, four of the six are not constrained.[4] These are the Kinzhal hypersonic aeroballistic missile, the Tsirkon hypersonic cruise missile, the Poseidon nuclear-powered drone submarine and the nuclear-powered cruise missile. At this point, we cannot rule out the possibility that the Russians will claim the other two (the Sarmat heavy ICBM and the Avangard intercontinental hypersonic boost glide vehicle) are not covered by the Treaty, claiming that they are a different type from the ballistic versions.

The loopholes I depicted in 2012 are now mainly actual Russian programs to circumvent the New START Treaty; others are apparent violations.

How Many Strategic Nuclear Weapons Does Russia Deploy Today?

Russia has many more strategic nuclear warheads than the 1,426 warheads it recently reported in its New START Treaty data.[5] In 2019, Hans M. Kristensen and Robert S. Norris of the Federation of American Scientists estimated that Russia has 2,670 strategic nuclear warheads.[6] Kristensen, in another study, writing with Matt Corda, also estimated that the U.S. has 1,590 deployed strategic warheads.[7] In 2014, Houston Hawkins of the Los Alamos National Laboratory wrote, “Today, estimates are that Russia has about 4,500 strategic weapons in its inventory.”[8] In December 2019, Russian Strategic Missile Force Commander Colonel General Sergei Karakayev stated “…the nuclear potentials of the sides have [been] reduced more than 66% since the signing of START I.”[9] This is a major departure from the Russian position. At the United Nations in April 2018, First Deputy Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the U.N Dmitry Polyanskiy declared that "Russia cut its nuclear arsenal by over 85 percent as compared to its stockpiles at the height of the Cold War."[10] If one uses the late Soviet declared number of over 10,000 deployed strategic nuclear warheads for the calculation,[11] the difference between an 85% reduction and a 66% reduction is about 2,000 warheads. It means that Russia then had over 3,300 strategic nuclear warheads, over twice the supposed New START Treaty allowed level of 1,550. These are real warheads, not accountable warheads.

Russian Expansion of its Strategic Nuclear Weapons

There are reports that Russian nuclear weapons expansion is now underway, and it is aimed at extremely high levels of deployed nuclear warheads. In December 2017, Bill Gertz reported, “Russia is aggressively building up its nuclear forces and is expected to deploy a total force of 8,000 warheads by 2026 along with modernizing deep underground bunkers, according to Pentagon officials. The 8,000 warheads will include both large strategic warheads and thousands of new low-yield and very low-yield warheads to circumvent arms treaty limits and support Moscow’s new doctrine of using nuclear arms early in any conflict.”[12]

An excellent 2015 study by James R. Howe concluded that Russia had the potential to deploy 2,664-5,890 nuclear warheads on its planned strategic ballistic missile force.[13] In another analysis published in September 2019, he says Russia will have between “2,976 WHs [warheads], and a maximum of 6,670 WHs” plus over 800 bomber weapons.[14] He notes that “the 2022 [Russian] strategic nuclear force’s (SNFs) war­head (WH) levels will likely significantly exceed New START levels based on planned WH loadings.”[15]

In December 2017, Howe estimated that Russia would have 8,000 nuclear weapons in six years, a mix of high-yield, medium-yield, and low-yield nuclear warheads.[16]

In August 2019, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear Matter Rear Admiral (ret.) Peter Fanta at the Crane Naval Submarine Warfare Center Symposium on Strategic Nuclear Weapons Modernization and Hypersonics confirmed the Gertz report stating that "The Russians are going to 8,000 plus warheads."[17]

There is other evidence of Russian expansion of its nuclear weapons numbers. In 2019, Lt. Gen. Robert P. Ashley, Jr., Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, in an important speech at the Hudson Institute, stated that "…during the past decade, Russia has improved and expanded its production complex, which has the capacity to process thousands of warheads annually."[18] This confirms and goes beyond a 2014 report by Dr. Houston Hawkins, which said that Russia can produce 1,000 nuclear "pits" a year, which translates into the ability to produce 1,000 new nuclear weapons per year.[19] In addition, he said Russia had mothballed the ability to produce 2,500 more.[20] In 2019, James Howe stated that Russia “retains an estimated capability of building 1,000-3,000 plus weapons per year.”[21]

A Russian capability of producing several thousand nuclear weapons a year is many times what is necessary to support an operational force of 8,000 nuclear weapons. It is more like what is necessary to produce the Soviet strategic nuclear force, which peaked at about 45,000 warheads.[22]

The Democrats on the House Armed Services Committee are attempting to reduce the capability of the U.S. pit facility (which will not be operational until 2030) to 30 per year,[23] which would result in about a hundred-fold Russian advantage in production capability for new nuclear weapons.

Russian Strategic Nuclear Modernization

The Russian Government has announced over twenty strategic nuclear modernization programs.[24] In December 2018, Russian Defense Minister General of the Army Sergey Shoigu stated that "The modernity level of the Strategic Nuclear Forces has reached 82%..."[25] While this may be somewhat exaggerated, the more important fact is that Russian Triad modernization will be soon complete, but in reality, it is literally never ending. When a new system is deployed, its follow-on is underway.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

Russian strategic nuclear modernization programs include:[26]

  • The new road-mobile and silo-based Topol-M Variant 2 (SS-27 Mod 1) single warhead ICBM. It became operational in 1997.
  • The new RS-24/Yars/SS-27 Mod 2 derivative with a Multiple Independently-targetable Reentry Vehicle (MIRV) payload. This system violated the START Treaty because it was MIRVed. It became operational in 2010.
  • Improved versions of the Soviet legacy SS-N-23 SLBM called the Sineva and the Liner with many more warheads; both are now operational. The Delta-IV submarine that carries them has been life extended.
  • The new six-MIRV warhead Bulava-30 SLBM being deployed on two variants of the new Borei ballistic missile submarine, eight of which are operational or under construction. This year the fourth will become operational.
  • Improved versions of the SS-27 Mod 2/RS-24 Yars ICBM and the Bulava-30 SLBM.
  • A smaller follow-on ICBM to replace the RS-24 Yars is under development.
  • The Avangard hypersonic boost glide vehicle, one of Putin’s nuclear super- weapons. It will become operational this year.
  • Modernization of the Blackjack (Tu-160M) and Bear (Tu-95MSM) heavy bombers, which are now armed with: 1) a new stealthy long-range strategic nuclear-armed cruise missile designated the KH-102; and 2) the long-range KH-101 cruise missile. In 2015, President Putin revealed that the Kh-101 “can be equipped either with conventional or special nuclear warheads.”[27]
  • A program to produce at least 50 more of an improved version of the Tu-160M2 bomber. A recent report says the number will be about 50.
  • Development of a new stealthy heavy bomber, the Pak DA, which will carry cruise missiles and, reportedly, hypersonic missiles.
  • Development and deployment of the new Sarmat heavy ICBM with a mammoth 10 tons of throw-weight, which will reportedly carry 10 heavy or 15 medium nuclear warheads or 3-5 hypersonic gliders with deployment in 2022. This is one of Putin’s superweapons.
  • Development of the new Barguzin rail-mobile ICBM which reportedly has been put on hold pending at 2027 production decision.
  • Development and deployment of a new “ICBM” called the RS-26 Rubezh, in reality, an intermediate-range missile, reportedly on hold for a 2027 production decision.
  • Development of a "fifth-generation" strategic missile submarine, the Husky, carrying ballistic and cruise missiles after 2025. A new liquid fuel SLBM reportedly is under development for it.
  • Development of Putin’s superweapon, the Poseidon, a nuclear-armed, nuclear-powered, 10,000-km range, very fast, drone submarine capable of operating at a depth of 1,000-meters which the Russian press says carries a 100-megaton bomb and, possibly, a cobalt bomb. Testing of this system is reportedly well underway, and the first submarine that will carry it has just been launched.
  • Deployment of the Kinzhal nuclear-capable hypersonic aereoballistic missile, one of Putin’s superweapons.
  • Testing of the Tsirkon hypersonic cruise missile, one of Putin’s nuclear superweapons.

Some of these programs may not survive due to budget pressure, but a high percentage likely will.

Even more significant in terms of how many nuclear weapons Russia is planning to build is the very large number of warheads that will reportedly be carried on each type of its new or modernized strategic missiles. Most notable is the new Sarmat heavy ICBM, which, according to TASS, has a maximum load of “at least 15 warheads.”[28] This was prohibited by the old START Treaty.

The new version of the Soviet legacy SS-N-23, the Sineva, reportedly can carry double the number of warheads for which the SS-N-23 was limited to under the START Treaty—8 vs. 4.[29] Not satisfied with this, Russia went on to develop, test and deploy a second new version of the SS-N-23, the Liner (sometimes translated as Layner), which, according to Russian press reports, can reportedly carry 10 warheads.[30] The new Bulava-30 SLBM was declared to carry six warheads under the START Treaty, but reports are quite common in Russia that it and the new RS-24 Yars ICBM will carry ten warheads.[31] (This would likely require a new smaller and lighter RV). These warhead loads make no sense with any type of arms control.   

Russia has gone in exactly the opposite direction as the U.S., which has downloaded its strategic missiles. It is simply impossible for Russia to deploy uniformly anywhere near these warhead numbers under any arms control regime, which suggests Russia is planning to deploy many nuclear warheads outside of arms control constraints by circumvention, cheating or breakout. The severely degraded New START verification regime regarding mobile ICBMs makes this very feasible.

The large throw-weight of some Russian missiles could permit very large numbers of small nuclear warheads to be carried. For example, in 2010, ITAR-TASS reported the Russian SS-18 heavy ICBM “can deliver up to 36 warheads…”[32] The new Sarmat has more throw-weight than the SS-18.

Russian Nonstrategic Nuclear Weapons

The Russian Federation clearly has thousands of non-strategic weapons.[33] These include some missiles with ranges of thousands of kilometers, which, when based on long-range aircraft, surface ships, or submarines can carry out the mission of strategic nuclear weapons as well as the theater nuclear mission.

In 2011, the U.S. Defense Department estimated Russia had between 2,000-4,000 tactical nuclear weapons.[34] The current Nuclear Posture Review number of 2,000 appears to be very low.

Russia claims to have reduced its tactical nuclear weapons inventory by 75% from Cold War levels.[35] Similar or identical claims were made in the review conferences for the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) for 15 years. This is significant because the P-5 states (the U.S., Russia, China, France and Great Britain) bent over backward to detail their nuclear weapons cuts during the NPT review conferences, yet Russian claims about non-strategic nuclear weapons reductions remained the same.[36] (Since their number of strategic warheads had increased, Russia resorted to an apples and oranges comparison of number of warheads accountable under the START Treaty and the New START Treaty, despite completely different counting rules.)

Alexei Arbatov, a Russian expert and former Vice Chairman of the Duma Defense Committee, and others (e. g., Graham Allison) have said that the late Cold War Soviet tactical nuclear arsenal was comprised of 22,000 tactical nuclear weapons.[37] A 75% reduction would mean Russia has retained 5,000+ tactical nuclear weapons. Indeed, in 2014, reported, “Russia, according to conservative estimates, has 5,000 pieces of different classes of TNW [tactical nuclear weapons] - from Iskander warheads to torpedo, aerial and artillery warheads!”[38] Dr. Philip Karber, President of the Potomac Foundation, has stated that roughly half of Russia’s 5,000 tactical nuclear weapons have been modernized with new sub-kiloton nuclear warheads for air-defense, torpedoes and cruise missiles.[39]

In 2013, Alexei Arbatov indicated that the Russian arsenal of “nonstrategic nuclear assets (medium-range aviation, operational-tactical aircraft and missiles) are classified, but unofficial estimates range from 2,000 to 3,000 operationally deployed nuclear weapons, a considerable segment of which can also hit targets in regions adjoining Russia.”[40] “Operationally deployed” is a term associated with the 2002 Moscow arms control treaty. It does not count the entire weapons inventory, but only those weapons actually attached to delivery systems or stored at operational bases. Moreover, Arbatov has never counted Russian non-strategic warheads that he knows violate arms control commitments.

The Russian tactical nuclear arsenal is amazingly diverse. According to the 2017 Defense Intelligence Agency report on Russia Military Power, Russian tactical nuclear weapons “…include air-to-surface missiles, short-range ballistic missiles, gravity bombs, and depth charges for medium-range bombers, tactical bombers, and naval aviation, as well as anti-ship, anti-submarine, and anti-aircraft missiles, and torpedoes for surface ships and submarines. There may also be warheads remaining for surface-to-air and other aerospace defense missile systems.”[41] Additional types of tactical nuclear weapons are reported in the Russian press including nuclear artillery and this was confirmed by Assistant Secretary of Defense James A. Anderson.[42

The 2018 Nuclear Posture Review confirmed much of the Russian press reports about the diversity of its non-strategic nuclear weapons and even revealed some types of Russian non-strategic nuclear weapons capability not previously reported in open sources.[43]

Russian Hypersonic Missiles

Russian hypersonic missile programs announced by the Russian government or reported in state media include:

  • The KH-32, an already operational near hypersonic nuclear-capable cruise missile (reported maximum speed from Mach 4 to Mach 5), with a range of 1,000-km.
  • The already operational Iskander-M and the improved Iskander-M nuclear capable “aeroballistic” missiles with a reported maximum range of 700 to 1,000-km.
  • A now operational “high-precision hypersonic aircraft missile system” called the Kinzhal, which is capable of “delivering nuclear and conventional warheads in a range of over 2,000-km.”[44] The Chief of the Russian Aerospace Force (Air Force) called it an “aeroballistic missile.”[45] It is reportedly a derivative of the Iskander-M. In 2018, the Deputy Russian Defense Minister Yuri Borisov said that ten Kinzhals are operational on the Mig-31 fighters and TASS, the main official Russian news agency, reports that an “aeroballistic missile”, obviously the Kinzhal, will be carried by the Su-34 long-range strike fighter.[46] State-run TASS and Sputnik News report that the Backfire bomber will also carry the Kinzhal.[47]
  • A smaller version of the Kinzhal to be carried by the Su-57 fighter aircraft.[48]
  • The Avangard nuclear-armed intercontinental hypersonic boost-glide vehicle, which Putin characterizes as "A real technological breakthrough," which he said, "has been successfully tested."[49] TASS says it has a two-megaton warhead.[50] In June 2018, President Putin said it was in serial production. The Russians have said that it will be operational in 2019.[51]
  • The Tsirkon, a powered nuclear-capable hypersonic cruise missile, which Putin says has a range of over 1,000-km and a speed of Mach 9. A retired Russian admiral says the range is 2,000-km. It will be operational in a few years, perhaps sooner.

In addition to these hypersonic missile programs, Russia is reportedly developing the KH-MT, which is reported to be a “ram-jet powered hypersonic design apparently intended for internal carriage [on the Tu-95MSM bomber].”[52] There are reports that the Russian nuclear-powered cruise missile, the 9M730 Burevestnik, one of Putin’s nuclear superweapons, is a hypersonic missile.[53] This is possible but much more difficult to build than a subsonic or a supersonic nuclear-powered cruise missile. In February 2019, President Putin spoke about Russia deploying two types of ground-launched hypersonic missiles within two years.[54]

A Russian press report suggested that Russia may develop an intermediate-range ground-launched missile which combines a new first stage rocket with the Kinzhal maneuvering missile as its second stage.[55]

There may be other Russian hypersonic missile programs under development that have not been reported in open sources.

New START Verification Permits Large Scale Cheating

The New START Treaty permits a reduced number of inspections compared to START. However, no inspection allowed under New START can prove a substantive violation because of the lack of attribution rules. Attribution rules say a missile type counts at a specific number of warheads, and any missile found containing more violates the Treaty.[56]

The almost complete elimination of the START Treaty mobile ICBM verification regime in the New START Treaty results in an inability to verify the number of deployed mobile ICBMs and warheads, and, hence, the total number of deployed ICBMs and deployed warheads.[57]

The almost complete elimination of the telemetry provisions of the START Treaty likely makes our understanding of new Russian missiles characteristics far inferior to what it was under START.

Unless there is a strong push for Russian New START compliance from the Department of Defense, the career bureaucracy in the Department of State has a virtual veto on the public disclosure of New START Treaty violations.

There are many statements by the Commander of the Strategic Missile Force Colonel General Sergei Karakayev that Russia has 400 ICBMs which he says are on “combat alert” [58] which implies a covert force.

The Russian state media have repeatedly reported that improvements to the Backfire bomber have given it capabilities that have turned it into a heavy bomber under New START.[59] It is not declared as one.

The retired Commander of the Russian Air Force (now called the Aerospace Force) Colonel General Viktor Bondarev has revealed that Russia has the “Skif bottom missiles.”[60] The “Skif” is the nuclear-armed intercontinental-range SS-N-23 SLBM.[61] Emplacing nuclear missiles on the ocean floor is prohibited by the “Treaty on the Prohibition of the Emplacement of Nuclear Weapons and Other Weapons of Mass Destruction on the Seabed and the Ocean Floor and in the Subsoil Thereof," which, according to the Department of State, "…prohibits parties from emplacing nuclear weapons or weapons of mass destruction on the seabed and the ocean floor beyond a 12-mile coastal zone.”[62]


Russia is clearly expanding its nuclear forces with little or no impact from the New START Treaty, which is easy to circumvent or violate. Russia is building a clear nuclear superiority over the U. S. This substantially increases the risk of nuclear war. The reported objective of 8,000 warheads is credible, and it may even be a low estimate. Indeed, the Russians may already be there if my estimate of Russian non-strategic nuclear weapons is correct.

This needs to be dealt with by deterrence. Our experience with arms control with Russia suggests it is little more than a placebo since Russia has violated or circumvented all arms control treaties.

Decades of neglect of U.S. nuclear forces combined with Putin’s nuclear doctrine and force buildup have created a very dangerous situation that must be corrected sooner rather than later. The conclusions of the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review are the minimum that should be undertaken if we are serious about deterring a nuclear war.

Dr. Mark B. Schneider is a Senior Analyst with the National Institute for Public Policy. Before his retirement from the Department of Defense Senior Executive Service, Dr. Schneider served in a number of senior positions within the Office of Secretary of Defense for Policy including Principal Director for Forces Policy, Principal Director for Strategic Defense, Space and Verification Policy, Director for Strategic Arms Control Policy and Representative of the Secretary of Defense to the Nuclear Arms Control Implementation Commissions.  He also served in the senior Foreign Service as a Member of the State Department Policy Planning Staff.


[1] Mark B. Schneider, New START: The Anatomy of a Failed Negotiation, (Fairfax Virginia: National Institute Press, July 2012), available at

[2] “Russia may build Borei-K nuclear subs with cruise missiles – source,” TASS, April 20, 2019, available at

[3] “New Risks and New Arms Control Solutions: North Korea, Disruptive Technologies, and the New Arms Race,” Arms Control Association, April 15, 2019, available at armscontrol2019.: “Russia’s new strategic weapons don’t fall under limits of New START Treaty, says envoy,” TASS, April 15, 2019, available at

[4] In a May 2019 Senate hearing, Under Secretary of State Andrea Thompson stated that three of Russia's nuclear super weapons – a nuclear-powered cruise missile, the Poseidon unmanned underwater vehicle, and the Kinzhal air-launched ballistic missile – constitute a “new kind of strategic offensive arms for purposes of New START. She did not mention the Tsirkon hypersonic cruise missile, promoted into the superweapons category in 2019, which is also not constrained by the New START Treaty. “US Seeks Arms Control Talks on Russia’s Newer Weapons, Non-Strategic Nuclear Arsenal,” Sputnik, May 15, 2019, available at professionalewsstand/docview/225235627/fulltext/16A418F3EF056B19022/5?accountid=155509&site= professionalnewsstand&t:ac=16A418F3E F056B19022/.

[5] “New START Treaty Aggregate Numbers of Strategic Offensive Arms,” (Washington D.C.: U.S. Department of State, September 1, 2019, available at

[6] Hans M. Kristensen and Robert S. Norris, “Russian nuclear forces, 2019,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, March 4, 2019, p. 74. available at

[7] Hans M. Kristensen and Matt Korda, “United States nuclear forces, 2019,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, April 20, 2019, available at

[8] Houston T. Hawkins, “RETHINKING THE UNTHINKABLE,” Los Alamos National Laboratory National Security Science, December 14, 2014, p. 10, available at

[9] “U.S. to seek ways of leveling capacities of Russian strategic nuclear forces - Gen. Karakayev,” Interfax, December 17, 2018, available at

[10] “Statement by Mr. Dmitry Polyanskiy, First Deputy Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the

UN, during General Debate at the UN Disarmament Commission 2018,” Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations, April 2, 2018, available at

[11] “FACTBOX – Strategic Missile Forces Day in Russia,” Sputnik, December 17, 2018, available at https://dialog

[12] Bill Gertz, “Russia Sharply Expanding Nuclear Arsenal, Upgrading Underground Facilities,” Washington Free Beacon, December 13, 2017, available at

[13] James R. Howe, “Exploring the Dichotomy Between New START Treaty Obligations and Russian Actions and Rhetoric,” Vision Centric, Inc., October 2015, slide 4. 

[14] James R. Howe, “CHAPTER 10. FUTURE RUSSIAN STRATEGIC NUCLEAR AND NON-NUCLEAR FORCES: 2022,” in Stephen J. Blank ed., The Russian Military in Contemporary Perspective, (Carlisle Pa.: U.S. Army war College, September 2019), p. 358, available at =1389.341.

[15] Ibid., p. 341.

[16] Gertz, “Russia Sharply Expanding Nuclear Arsenal, Upgrading Underground Facilities,” op. cit.

[17] “082319 Crane Naval Submarine Warfare Center Symposium on Strategic Nuclear Weapons Modernization and Hypersonics with Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear Matter Peter Fanta,” mimeo.

[18] “Russian and Chinese Nuclear Modernization Trends, Remarks at the Hudson Institute, Lt. Gen. Robert P. Ashley, Jr., Director Defense Intelligence Agency Russian and Chinese Nuclear Modernization Trends, Remarks at the Hudson Institute 29 May 2019,” available at


[19]  Hawkins, “RETHINKING THE UNTHINKABLE,” op. cit., p. 15.

[20] Ibid., p. 16.


[22] Ibid.

[23] Bill Gertz, “House Democrats Seek to Kill Small Nuclear Warhead,” The Washington Free Beacon, June 4, 2019, available at

[24]  For a list of these systems, see Mark B. Schneider, "Russian Nuclear Weapons Policy," Real Clear Defense, April 28, 2017, available at policy_ 111261.html. The only announced changes from the date of this publication are that Russia has put the rail-mobile ICBM program on hold, and it has announced a new strategic submarine, the Borey B.

[25] “Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Federation attends extended session of the Russian Defence Ministry board session,” Defense Ministry of the Russian Federation, December 18, 2018, available at http:// en/news_page/country/more.htm?id=12208613@egNews.

[26] “Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly,” The Kremlin, March 1, 2018, available at events/president/news/56957.: “Russian Nuclear Weapons Policy,” Real Clear Defense, April 28, 2017, available at 111261.html.; Howe, “CHAPTER 10. FUTURE RUSSIAN STRATEGIC NUCLEAR AND NON-NUCLEAR FORCES: 2022,” op. cit., p. 354-379.; “Presidential Address to Federal Assembly,”, February 20, 2019,

[27] “Meeting with Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu,”, December 8, 2015, available at http://en.kremlin. ru/events/president/news/50892.: “In the course of the last 24 hours, aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces have performed 82 combat sorties engaging 204 terrorist objects in Syria,” Defense Ministry of the Russian Federation, December 9, 2015, available at @egNew.

[28] “Formidable Sarmat: Satan’s successor that can piece any defense,” TASS, October 25, 2016, available at http://

[29] Pavel Podvig, “Liner SLBM explained,” Russian, October 11, 2011, available at http://russianforces. org/blog/2011/10/liner_slbm_explained.shtml.

[30] “Russian Navy takes into service Layner ICBM,” BBC Monitoring Former Soviet Union, April 2, 2014, available at https:// dialog. U.S. Department of State, “Russian Federation MOU Data,” U.S. Department of State, January 1, 2007, available at documents/organization/83235.pdf.; Charles P. Vick, “A Highly Modified Topol-M/SS-27,”, October 10,2013, available at; "'Nuke trains' with up to 30 Yars missiles rolling out from 2018 – Russian defense source," RT, December 26, 2014, available at https://; “New START: Potemkin Village Verification,” The New START Working Group, The Heritage Foundation, June 24, 2010, p. 7, available at research/reports/2010/06/new-start-potemkin-village-verification. 

[31] Pavel Podvig, “Bulava has six warheads,” Russian, April 3, 2006, available at blog/ 2006/04/ bulava_has_six_warheads.shtml.: Pavel Podvig, “Jane’s Cover Story,” Russian, July 9, 2007, available at: 2007/07/janes_cover_story.shtml.; "SS-N-32 'Bulava'," Missile Threat.Com, August 10, 2016, available at; “Yars Intercontinental ballistic missile,” Military, no date, available at http://www.military-today. “Russia: Comparison of Sineva, Bulava ICBMs, possible reason for Bulava’s failures,” BBC Monitoring Former Soviet Union, July 20, 2009, available at Accounted =155509.

[32] “Russia Strategic Missile Forces Launch Command-staff Exercise,” ITAR-TASS, March 10, 2010. No longer posted on the TASS web site.

[33] "Obama Advisor Gary Samore, 'The Ball is Very Much in Tehran's Court'," Radio Free Europe, April 14, 2011, available at

[34] “James N. Miller, Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, Statement before the House Commit-tee on Armed Services, November 2, 2011,” available at File_id=faad05df-9016-42c5-86bc-b83144c635c9..

[35] “Russia not advising U.S. to raise issue of intermediate, short-range missiles at NPT conference,” Interfax, April 17, 2015, available at

[36] “Senior Diplomat Says Russia Abides By Nonproliferation Commitments,” ITAR-TASS, May 3, 2005, available at 111653AM.html#1D.

[37]  Graham Allison, “WHAT HAPPENED TO THE SOVIET SUPERPOWER’S NUCLEAR ARSENAL? CLUES FOR THE NUCLEAR SECURITY SUMMIT,” (Cambridge Mass.: Harvard Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, March 2012), p. 12, available at publication/3%2014% 2012%20Final%20What%20Happened%20to%20Soviet%20Arsenals.pdf.: Alexei Arbatov, “Deep Cuts and De-alerting: A Russian Perspective,” in Harold Feiveson, ed., The Nuclear Turning Point: A Blueprint for Deep Cuts and De-Alerting of Nuclear Weapons, (Washington, DC.: Brookings Institution, 1999), p. 320.

[38] Dmitriy Sudakov, “Russia prepares nuclear surprise for NATO,”, November 12, 2014, available at http: //

[39] A video of Karber’s presentation is available at

[40] Aleksey Arbatov, “Look Before You Leap,” Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye Online, August 7, 2013. (Translation by World News Connection.)

[41] U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency, Russia Military Power: Building a Military to Support Great Power Aspirations, (Washington D.C.: Defense Intelligence Agency, 2017), p. 31, available at Portals/ 27/ Documents/ News/Military%20Power%20.Publications/Russia%20Military%20Power%20Report%202017.pdf.

[42] “Russia’s Severodvinsk attack sub to be armed with new cruise missiles,” ITAR-TASS, March 27, 2009. (Translated by World News Connection).: “Академик Евгений Николаевич Аврорин: «Наука — это то, что можно сделать, а техническая наука — это то, что нужно сделать»,”, April 10, 2013, available at http://www. 2013/04/10/41068. (In Russian).

[43] Department of Defense, Nuclear Posture Review, (Washington D.C., US, Department of Defense, February 2018), p. 53, available at https://media.defense. gov/2018/Feb/02/2001872886/-1/-1/1/2018-NUCLEAR- POSTURE REVIEW-FINAL-REPORT.PDF.

[44] “Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly,” March 1, 2018, op. cit.

[45] “Russian commander comment on Putin’s weapons announcement,” BBC Monitoring of the Former Soviet Union, May 5, 2018, available at =155509.

[46] “The Su-34 strike fighter Upgrading a Hellduck: Russia’s Su-34 to Get State of-the-Art Overhaul,” Sputnik News,

December 10, 2016, available at 2800-russia-su-34-strike

fighter-modernization/.: Piotor Butowski, “Daggers, Stones and Foxbats,” Air International, April 2018, pp. 12-13.

[47] “Russia to deploy new Kinzhal missile on Tu-22M3 bomber,” BBC Monitoring Former Soviet Union, July 8,

2018, available at fulltext/167F6F8818973E056B4/1?accountid=155509&site=professionalnewsstand&t:ac=167F6F8818973E056B4/1&t:cp=maintain/resultcitationblocksbrief&t:zoneid=transactionalZone_16891774de0.: “Russia’s Tu-22M3M Bomber to Be Able to Carry Up to 4 Kinzhal Missiles – Source,” Sputnik News, July 2, 2018, available at 201807021065959682-russia-bombers-missiles/.

[48] “Su-57 jets will be equipped with hypersonic missiles similar to Kinzhal — source,” TASS, December 6, 2018, available at

[49] “Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly,” March 1, 2018, op. cit.

[50] “Russia to use SS-19 ICBMs as carriers for Avangard hypersonic glide vehicles — source,” TASS, March 20, 2017, available at

[51] “Russia to deliver Avangard system to Armed Forces in 2019 - Putin (Part 2)” Interfax, June 7, 2018, available at

[52] Thomas Newdick, "Victory Day 'Bears'," Combat Aircraft, August 2019, p. 85.

[53] Stephen Bryen, “The hypersonic arms race and air defenses,” Asia Times, August 24, 2019, available at https:// “Hypersonic missiles are a deadly threat to US,”, August 30, 2019, available at

[54] “Presidential Address to Federal Assembly,” February 20, 2019, op. cit.

[55] “Potential Russian response to collapse of INF treaty discussed,” BBC Monitoring Former Soviet Union, August 7, 2019, available at 16C3A47819D1519315A/3?accountid=155509&site=professionalnewsstand&t:ac=16C3A47819D1519315A/1&t:cp=maintain/resultcitationblocksbrief&t:zoneid=transactionalZone16cd4c64ef0.

[56] Schneider, New START: The Anatomy of a Failed Negotiation, op. cit., p. 46.

[57] New START: Potemkin Village Verification,” The New START Working Group, The Heritage Foundation, June 24, 2010, p. 37, available at 

[58] “Some 400 ICBMs are on combat duty in Russia – RVSN commander,” Interfax, December 16, 2014, available at “Russian Strategic Missile Troops have about 400 ICBM launchers – commander,” BBC Monitoring Former Soviet Union, December 17, 2013, available at https:// newsstand/docview/1468597532/fulltext/16CED18 9490147E438B/ 3?accountid =155509&site=professionalnewsstand&t:ac=16CED189490147E438B/1&t:cp= maintain/resultcitationblocksbrief&t:zoneid=transactionalZone_16d8798ac2f.: “Army; Russian Strategic Missile Forces comprise approx. 400 ICBMs – commander,” November 13, 2017, available at professional/professionalnewsstand/docview/1963796939/fulltext/6CED20898C40433ED7/13?accountid=155509& site=professionalnewsstand&t:ac=16CED20898C40433ED7/1&t:cp=maintain/resultcitationblocksbrief&t:zoneid=transactionalZone_16d879f5778.

[59] Mark B. Schneider, “Russian Air-Delivered Non-Strategic Nuclear Weapons,” Real Clear Defense, June 15, 2018, available at


Show comments Hide Comments