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5 Nov, 2023 08:30

Russia is nuclear top dog – security chief

Moscow’s powerful atomic arsenal will keep the country safe for generations to come, Nikolay Patrushev has said
Russia is nuclear top dog – security chief

Russia has secured an edge over its rivals in the realm of nuclear weapons, Nikolay Patrushev, secretary of the country’s Security Council, has said. He warned earlier this year that while Moscow had never used its military advantage to intimidate other countries, it could annihilate any foe if its very existence was at stake.

Speaking at the ‘Znanie’ (Knowledge) education marathon in Moscow, Patrushev stated that “for the first time in the history of the existence of nuclear missile weapons, our country is ahead of its competitors in this domain.”

He added that Russia now has “unique strategic weapons, including hypersonic ones” in its arsenal. According to Patrushev, these strategic systems “will guarantee Russia’s security for many decades.”

Moscow possesses several types of hypersonic projectiles, including the Kinzhal air-launched missile which entered service in 2017. According to Russian President Vladimir Putin, unlike an ordinary ballistic missile, Kinzhal’s high maneuverability and speed allow it to penetrate any existing air defense system. In 2018, the Russian military also received the Bulava submarine-launched ballistic missile which has been described as the future cornerstone of the country’s nuclear triad.

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), as of 2023, Russia has the largest nuclear arsenal in the world with a total stockpile of 5,889 warheads. Its closest rival, the US, has a total of 5,224 warheads.

In March, Patrushev insisted that while Russia has modern and unique weapons that it could use to destroy any enemy that threatened its existence, it remains “patient and does not intimidate anyone with its military advantage.” At the time, he also dismissed speculation that Russia would not be able to retaliate if the US decided to launch a pre-emptive strike. “It is short-sighted stupidity, and extremely dangerous at that,” he noted.

The official’s remarks come as relations between Russia and the US have sunk to unprecedented lows, largely due to the Ukraine conflict. Shortly after hostilities began in February 2022, Putin ordered the country’s nuclear forces to be put on “special alert.” However, US officials have repeatedly stated that they have not detected any noticeable changes in Moscow’s nuclear posture.