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

Defiant Russia’s expensive nuclear upgrade is a risky strategy

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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Professor Stefan Hedlund
The air force is slightly behind the curve. Its strategic bombers are old, like the American B-52s, and its designers have not yet matched the US development of the B-1 and B-2
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