Russia said yesterday it had deployed nuclear-capable ballistic missiles to a far eastern Russian region opposite Alaska. State media called the operation a training exercise that demonstrated the country’s ability to position nuclear arms close to the United States, according to New York Times.
As tensions mount between Washington and Moscow over a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine, U.S. intelligence has found the Kremlin is planning a multi-front offensive as soon as feasible.
“If Putin invades Ukraine with a major military force, U.S. and NATO military assistance — intelligence, cyber, anti-armor and anti-air weapons, offensive naval missiles — would ratchet up significantly,” said James Stavridis, a retired four-star Navy admiral who was the supreme allied commander at NATO. “And if it turned into a Ukrainian insurgency, Putin should realize that after fighting insurgencies ourselves for two decades, we know how to arm, train and energize them.”
He pointed to American support for the mujahedeen in Afghanistan against the Soviet invasion there in the late 1970s and 1980s, before the rise of the Taliban. “The level of military support” for a Ukrainian insurgence, Admiral Stavridis said, “would make our efforts in Afghanistan against the Soviet Union look puny by comparison.”
The Biden administration accused Russia of failing to destroy its SSC-8 or 9M729 ground-launched, intermediate-range cruise missile systems, which the United States says are noncompliant.
In 2012, Russia announced the creation of an Arctic brigade and announced it would establish a missile defense system and deploy fighter aircraft to Novaya Zemlya, its northwestern archipelago, which separates the Barents and Kara Seas in 2013. Russia has significantly strengthened its military presence in its northernmost archipelagos by upgrading its bases on Wrangel Island, Kotelny Island, Franz Josef Land, on the shore of the Kara Sea, Alykel, Tiksi, Chokurdakh, Chersky, Kigelyakh, and Taymylyr, according to Center for Strategic & International Studies.
Russia deployed Sopka-2 radars in Russian military base in Wrangel Island. The Sopka-2 radar’s 350 km range and its intelligence gathering capabilities allows Russia to potentially gather intelligence and detect activity originating from U.S. military installations such as Eielson Air Force Base (AFB) and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson as well as Fort Greely army base, a key missile defense site and home to U.S. Ground-based Midcourse Defense interceptors.
The Tsirkon and the Poseidon are part of a new generation of weapons pledged by Putin in 2018 as strategic game changers in a fast-changing world.
The Kremlin said that it was winning the race to develop modernized nuclear weapons, Reuters previously reported. But it was just last week that a mysterious rocket accident in northern Russia killed at least five people and caused a brief spike in radiation levels.
In August 2020, the Russian submarine ‘Omsk’ fired a cruise missile at a target in the Bering Sea, which is between Siberia and Alaska.
Omsk is a Project 949A ‘Antey’ class cruise missile submarine, more commonly known by its NATO reporting name, Oscar-II class. It is primarily armed with 24 P-700 ‘Granite’ (NATO designation SS-N-19 Shipwreck) anti-ship missiles. These have a range of nearly 400 miles and can travel at supersonic speeds. Their 1,653 lb warhead is much larger than on regular anti-ship missiles like the Harpoon and Exocet. It can also carry a 500 kiloton nuclear warhead.
Russia regularly flew nuclear-capable Tu-160 bombers to a far eastern Russian region opposite Alaska as part of a training exercise that Russian state media said showed Moscow’s ability to park nuclear arms on the United States’ doorstep.
Russia’s Ministry of Defense said in a statement that the planes had covered a distance of more than 6,000 km (3,728 miles) in over eight hours from their home base in western Russia to deploy in Anadyr in the Chukotka region, which faces Alaska.
The 2019 U.S. missile defense strategy also increases the number of ground-based interceptors at Fort Greely from 44 to 64 over the next several years. Eielson Air Force Base (AFB) received Lockheed Martin F-35A between 2020 and 2022, increasing the capacity of the base in light of its strategic importance to defending the United States in the Indo-Pacific region. Elmendorf AFB is also the headquarters of Alaskan Command (ALCOM) and one of three NORAD regions that defend North American airspace which Russian bombers test from time to time.
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