Russia's current plan 'not sustainable' says Sean Bell
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The head of Russia’s space agency has issued a fresh threat to the West this week, claiming the country has 50 brand new nuclear missiles capable. Dmitry Rogozin, the head of Roscosmos and a loyal ally of Vladimir Putin, said dozens of new Sarmat-2 missiles — measuring 14 storeys tall and weighing 208 tons — will be deployed by autumn to remind Russia’s enemies of its capabilities. Eerily, he added: “It remains only to advise the aggressors to talk more politely with Russia.”
Fear of nuclear-armed conflict has been one of the main themes of the debate about how to deal with Russia after the Kremlin ordered its invasion of Ukraine in February.
While warnings of full-blown nuclear war to tactical nukes being used on the battlefield in Ukraine have been widespread, some US officials are now suggesting that NATO should not be fearful of such scenarios.
In March, three US officials with intelligence on Russian warheads claimed that around 60 percent of Moscow’s missiles do not work.
According to Reuters, Russia launched more than 1,100 missiles between late February and the end of March.
But of these launches, Russian forces are seeing failure rates as high as 60 percent, two of the officials told the news agency.
The officials did add, however, that the failure rate depended on the type of missile being launched and varied day-to-day.
Their claims come with the backdrop of a potential global conflict and in effect World War 3, with Republican Mitt Romney this week saying that NATO “could engage” in Ukraine, “potentially obliterating Russia’s struggling military.”
Writing for the New York Times, he said: “You are either with us, or you are with Russia — you cannot be with both.”
“Russia’s use of a nuclear weapon would unarguably be a redefining, reorienting geopolitical event, Any nation that chose to retain ties with Russia after such an outrage would itself also become a global pariah.”
The former presidential candidate also said that a “cornered and delusional” Putin could use nuclear weapons on the ground against Ukraine.
Avril Haines, the director of national intelligence in the US, also believes Putin would use nuclear weapons if pushed into a desperate position.
Speaking earlier this month, she told the Senate: “We do think that [Putin’s perception of an existential threat] could be the case in the event that he perceives that he is losing the war in Ukraine, and that NATO in effect is either intervening or about to intervene in that context, which would obviously contribute to a perception that he is about to lose the war in Ukraine.
She added that the world would probably have some warning that nuclear use was imminent.
Ms Haines continued: “There are a lot of things that he would do in the context of escalation before he would get to nuclear weapons, and also that he would be likely to engage in some signaling beyond what he’s done thus far before doing so.”
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However, Moscow’s foreign ministry spokesperson, Alexei Zaitsev, said earlier this month that Russia has no plans to use nuclear weapons.
He accused those who suggested Russia might launch a nuclear strike of “deliberate lies”.
Russia is one of nine countries which has nuclear warheads: 4,477, which excludes 1,500 “retired” warheads.
The eight others are the US (5,428), China (350), France (290), UK (225), Pakistan (165), India (160), Israel (90) and North Korea (20).
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