Russia to rely increasingly on non-nuclear deterrent
Vladimir Isachenkov, AP, Feb 21 2017
MOSCOW — Russia will continue to see the development of its nuclear forces as a top priority, but the military will rely increasingly on conventional weapons to deter any aggression, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Tuesday. He said that weapons such as the long-range cruise missiles carried by navy ships and strategic bombers, plus short-range missiles based on land, will play an increasingly important role as a non-nuclear deterrent. Those missiles can carry nuclear or conventional warheads. Shoigu pointed to the new missiles’ debut in the Syrian conflict, saying they have proven themselves well. He said:
The development of strategic nuclear forces will remain an unconditional priority. Russian nuclear weapons ensure the guaranteed deterrence of aggression by any foreign power. At the same time, the role of nuclear weapons in deterring a potential aggressor will diminish, primarily thanks to the development of precision weapons.
Until recently, Russia lacked long-range cruise missiles with conventional warheads similar to those in the Pindo inventory. Speaking at a conference on security issues, Shoigu described China as a key strategic partner, and noted that Moscow has signed a contract to provide China with anti-ship missiles. This follows other recent contracts with China for S-400 air defense systems and Su-35 fighter jets. Shoigu criticized NATO for identifying Russia as a threat and deploying forces near her borders, but he added that Russia remains open for a security dialogue with it. He said the global situation was increasingly unstable, and accused
the West Pindostan of spreading chaos by supporting regime change in the MENA (Huma’s abortive “Arab Spring” – RB). Shopygu said:
International relations are becoming increasingly tense, owing to increased competition for mineral resources and control over their transportation routes.
Last month, Shoigu had a phone call with Libya’s Khalifa Haftar, who visited the Russian aircraft carrier returning from a mission off Syria’s coast. The visit marked the strongest sign yet of Russian support for Hifter, who is allied with an eastern-based parliament that is at odds with a Western-backed government in the capital, Tripoli. British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon recently warned Russia against meddling in Libya, saying:
We don’t need the bear sticking his paws in.
We don’t think there is an animal in their zoo that could give orders to the bear.