Russian Media: Defense Ministry clarifies nuclear deterrence strategy

An article titled “On the foundations of Russia’s State Nuclear Deterrence Strategy”, written by Major General Andrey Sterlin and Colonel Alexander Khryapin, has been published in Krasnaya Zvezda, the official newspaper of the Russian Defense Ministry. Sterlin is a senior official at the Main Operational Directorate of the Russian Armed Forces’ General Staff, and Khyrapin is a leading research fellow at the Military-Strategic Studies Center of the General Staff’s Military Academy. Vedomosti’s sources say that the article seeks to explain to a foreign audience Russia’s document on strategic nuclear planning, which was published on June 2, for the first time in history.

The article can be viewed as a continuation of the policy aimed at making the Russian government’s views on the country’s nuclear strategy open to the public, Russian International Affairs Council expert Alexander Yermakov said. According to him, the article emphasizes that the only goal of Russia’s nuclear forces is to ensure strategic deterrence by making it clear to adversaries that they could “suffer unacceptable damage”.

According to Mikhail Barabanov, an expert at the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, the main message of the article is the following: “There is a specific answer to the question about the goal of aggression against Russia, a power with significant nuclear capability: the destruction of Russia as a state.” That said, the article views any military aggression against Russia as reason enough for using nuclear weapons and even becoming the first to use them, the expert added.

“We won’t try to figure out what kind of missiles they have and whether they are nuclear. Once a missile attack is launched towards our country, a decision will be made on a retaliatory strike on the country from where the attack is coming,” military political scientist Alexander Peredzhiyev told Rossiyskaya Gazeta. According to him, it is not only about countries that produce such missiles but also about countries that have given permission to deploy missiles on their soil.

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TASS, 11.8.2020
photo: Source: USNI