Russian Nuclear Forces, 2009

Nuclear Notebook: How many nuclear weapons does Russia have?

Russia continues reducing its deployment of nuclear-armed missiles to meet the Moscow Treaty’s 2,200-warhead limit by 2012 but is also developing new land-and sea-based forces.1 Russian political and military posturing reached new highs in 2008, as a consequence of the Russian invasion of Georgia and threats to counter the U.S. agreement to deploy anti-ballistic missile interceptors in Poland. Relations with NATO fell to a post-Cold War low, too, as Russian long-range bomber flights and exercises continued in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic oceans, with some even venturing into the Indian Ocean.

The Russian invasion of Georgia in early August 2008 triggered a series of tit-for-tat responses between Russia and NATO countries. The United States and Britain withdrew from a joint exercise with Russia, and Belgium canceled a port visit to Saint Petersburg. In response, Russia canceled its participation in the September Open Spirit 2008 mine-sweeping exercise in the Baltic Sea and refused to allow a U.S. warship access to one of its ports in the Far East. Russia also deployed two nuclear-capable bombers to Venezuela, followed by a small surface task force led by a nuclear-powered cruiser…

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The Nuclear Notebook is researched and written by Hans M. Kristensen, director of the Nuclear Information Project with the Federation of American Scientists and Robert S. Norris, a senior fellow with the FAS. The Nuclear Notebook column has been published in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists since 1987. The Nuclear Notebook column has been published in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists since 1987.


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