Defiant Russia’s expensive nuclear upgrade is a risky strategy

Russia's Tu-160 (Blackjack) strategic bombers fly ocean patrol missions (photo: dpa)
Russia's Tu-160 (Blackjack) strategic bombers fly ocean patrol missions (photo: dpa)

Nato is paying little attention to Russia’s nuclear forces' upgrade. The US is pre-occupied with China and Europe is still crippled by the financial crisis. Moscow hopes its nuclear programme will bring it respect and inspire awe. The immediate risk to Russia is not from Nato, but that the conflict in Syria will spill over into the Caucasus and that the Taliban resurgence in Afghanistan will spread to central Asia.

<i>Russia feels neglected and humiliated. To nationalists, the solution is seen to lie in raising the country’s nuclear posture. The land-based strategic rocket forces have already been strengthened with the advanced Topol-M (SS-27) inter-continental ballistic missil...

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