And Putin warned in a speech in which he called for partial mobilization in the Russian army, “those who are trying to blackmail Russia with nuclear weapons that the winds may blow in their direction.”
He said: “Nuclear blackmail is also resorted to. I would like to remind those who make such statements that our country also possesses various means of destruction, including methods that are more advanced than those of the NATO countries.”
Earlier on Wednesday, Putin ordered Russia’s first mobilization since World War II, calling up 300,000 reservists to fight in Ukraine as Ukraine consolidates its position on the northeastern front amid an ongoing counterattack using captured Russian tanks, with Kyiv vowing further incursion into the territory controlled by Moscow.
A bet on deterrence
And an analyst at the British Chatham House think-tank, Matthew Poleg, considered that the threat to use nuclear weapons aims to deter the West, “but if the opponent wants to continue the fight, it can be used more explicitly.”
He pointed out that “a chemical weapon will not change the form of war, but a tactical nuclear weapon would destroy a Ukrainian city. It is unlikely, but not impossible, and if it happened, it would destroy the 70-year-old premise of nuclear deterrence.”
In turn, the researcher specializing in military affairs at the Egyptian Center for Thought and Strategic Studies, Mohamed Mansour, explained to “Sky News Arabia” that Moscow’s threat to use nuclear weapons comes within the framework of its attempt to turn the conflict in Ukraine into a “national war”, which includes mobilization. Partial reserve forces, accelerating the process of joining the Donbass region to Russia.
Mansour said that in general, Moscow possesses a superior nuclear power, and had previously raised in late February the readiness of its nuclear deterrent force, which includes strategic missiles of all kinds, whether launched from fixed silos, autonomous platforms, or on board submarines. In addition to the medium and short-range missile systems that are launched from air or sea platforms.
According to the latest estimates, Moscow possesses 4,477 nuclear warheads, of which 1,500 were in the process of being destroyed, 2,889 in storage, and 1,588 in active combat duty.
Russian capabilities are divided into three sections; ICBMs launched from fixed silos or self-propelled platforms, missiles can be launched from aboard strategic submarines, and cruise missiles can be launched from strategic bombers.
The military affairs analyst pointed out that Russia currently possesses 5 types of intercontinental missiles, within the combat shift of the strategic missile regiments currently in service, with a total of 1185 nuclear warheads dedicated to these missiles, serving within 3 basic missile armies, with a total of 12 missile divisions, consisting of 40 regiments. My missile.
intercontinental ballistic missiles
• “SS-29/Yars” missile: in service since 2010, equipped with three separate warheads equipped with “re-entry” technology, and the ability to direct each separately towards different targets. Russia has 153 self-propelled launchers dedicated to it, along with 20 An underground launch silo, and the number of nuclear warheads dedicated to this type of missile is 692.
• The “SS-19/Stiletto” missile: The third generation of this missile has been in service since 1980, with a maximum range of 10,000 km. It is believed that this generation of missiles is now out of service, as 20 underground launch containers have been converted. To become a fourth generation, called “Avanguard”.
• The “SS-18/Satan” missile: The sixth generation of these missiles entered service in 1988, equipped with ten separate warheads equipped with “re-entry” technology, with a maximum range of 11,000 km, and Moscow possesses 400 nuclear warheads.
• The “SS-25/Topol” missile: entered service in 1988, has a range of 11,000 km and has a total of nine nuclear warheads. Russia plans to put the rest of it into service by the end of this year in favor of the latest version “Topol-M”. .
• The “SS-27/Topol-M” missile: It entered service in 1997, and its nuclear warhead is estimated at 500 kilotons, and the number of warheads available for this type is 27 nuclear warheads.
Naval and air capabilities
The Russian Navy owns two basic types of ICBMs launched from submarines, and operates 10 nuclear-powered submarines dedicated to launching ballistic missiles, of two classes, five of the “Delta IV” class, and five of the “Borei-A” class, and each submarine can carry Holds 16 missiles.
The power of submarines that have the ability to launch these missiles is concentrated in three main bases, and their types include:
• R-29RM Shtil: This missile has been in service since 1986. It has a nuclear warhead that includes four gliding vehicles, and has a range of 8000 km, while Russia has 320 missiles of this type.
• RSM-56 Bulava: It entered service in 2013, and it carries a nuclear warhead of 1150 kilograms, with a power of about 150 kilotons, with 480 missiles of this type.
Russia also operates two types of heavy nuclear-capable bombers, the first is the “Tu-160” and the second is the “Tu-95”.
As for the Russian Air Force, there are 55 Type II launchers and 13 Type I launchers, and the two types together can carry AS-15 nuclear-capable cruise missiles.
At the level of medium bombers and fighters, medium bombers “Tu-22”, “MIG-31” fighters, “SU-24” and “SU-34” can launch a number of missiles with nuclear capabilities, including the “KH-102”, Which entered service in 2012, and its warhead weighs 450 kilograms, has a range of 2,800 kilometers, and has a nuclear warhead capacity of 250 kilotons.
However, the researcher in military affairs believes that despite the Russian threat to use nuclear weapons, this does not necessarily mean that it may use heavy nuclear warheads or through intercontinental missiles, and here we can talk about the use of “tactical nuclear” weapons.
This includes some types of heavy artillery and cruise missiles, which have the ability to carry “limited nuclear charges”. Some of these types have already been used in Ukraine, but for firing conventional munitions, such as the 203 mm heavy self-propelled artillery “Malka”.