Putin Announces New Russian Defense and Weapons Strategy for 2020 – Does it Mean Nuclear Weapons Cold War Race is On Again?

  • During design and testing of the new systems, Russia has suffered mass casualties and the loss of top-tier personnel in the industry.
  • The announcement is an unexpected development, as Russia already has a strategic plan from 2018 that was supposed to last until 2025.
  • Russia's military budget will significantly increase and will be in the top three within the next two years.

Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a new defense and weapons strategy will be introduced in 2020, which expected to be in force until 2033. It is expected to contain expanded military spending and a new generation of weapon systems. One of the main areas of focus is space and artificial intelligence (AI) applications.

US President Trump re-established US Space Command earlier this year. United States Space Command is a unified combatant command of the US Department of Defense. It was originally created in September 1985 to coordinate the use of outer space by the US Armed Forces. Air Force General John Raymond serves as the Commander of US Space Command.

Russia’s new weapons under Putin’s rule:

1) Sarmat 6 is a replacement for the R-36M2 Voevoda ICBM (SS-18 by NATO). RS-28 Sarmat is a liquid-fueled, multiple-warhead ICBM. (2018)

2) Kinzhal Hypersonic short-range ballistic missile launched from a high-speed aircraft, modified Iskander-M short-range (400 km to 500 km, 250 mi to 310 mi), nuclear-capable ballistic missile using a solid-propellant rocket with small fins for maneuverability. (2018)

3) Avangard Boost-Glide Hypersonic Missile. Putin announced the system went into serial production this year.

4) Tsirkon is the 3M22, a scramjet powered maneuvering anti-ship hypersonic cruise missile developed by Russia. (2019)

5) Poseidon previously known by Russian code name Status-6, is a nuclear-powered and nuclear-armed unmanned underwater vehicle under development by Rubin Design Bureau, capable of delivering both conventional and nuclear payloads. (2018)

6) Peresvet Russian laser weapon, specifications thus far not released by Russia. (2018)

During design and testing of the new systems, Russia has suffered mass casualties and the loss of top-tier personnel in the industry. The Project 1083 Losharik submarine tragedy earlier this year took 14 lives including decorated personnel.

The announcement is an unexpected development, as Russia already has a strategic plan from 2018 that was supposed to last until 2025. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute population review, Russia’s budget this year is the sixth largest in the world. Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) is based in Sweden and dedicated to research into conflict, armaments, arms control and disarmament.

Total Military Spending (US dollars) 

  1. The United States of America $3,794.8 billion
  2. The People’s Republic of China $195 billion
  3. Saudi Arabia $67.6 billion
  4. India $66.5 billion
  5. France $63.8 billion
  6. Russia $61.4 billion
  7. The United Kingdom $50 billion
  8. Germany $49.5 billion
  9. Japan $46.6 billion
  10. South Korea $43.1 billion

Given Putin’s agenda and announcement of at the new strategy, Russia’s military budget will significantly increase and will be in the top three within the next two years.

This year the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces treaty (INF) ends. The end of the INF pact leaves the US and Russia with just one nuclear arms agreement, the New START Treaty, which governs strategic nuclear weapons and delivery systems for each side. The Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) expires in 2021. If not renewed, the world’s two largest nuclear powers would have no limits on their arsenals for the first time in decades.

START I was a bilateral treaty between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) on the reduction and limitation of strategic offensive arms. The treaty was signed on July 31, 1991 by President George H.W. Bush and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev. It entered into force on December 5, 1994. This milestone could be another reason why Putin has announced the need for a new strategy next year.

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Christina Kitova

I spent most of my professional life in finance, insurance risk management litigation.

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