War rages in Ukraine, but for Europe the next pressing threat could come from Russia’s nuclear deterrent in the icy waters of the far north Arctic.
A recent report by the Norwegian Intelligence Service has stated that as nuclear weapons and deterrents grow in importance, the presence of the Northern Fleet’s bases in Kola, Northern Bastion and the Barents Sea is also increasing in importance. This is because the Northern fleet contains submarines and surface ships which are capable of holding the nuclear deterrent, which would be the first time that Russia has had nuclear weapons on board its warships since the fall of the Soviet Union.
However, Pavel Podvig, a senior researcher with the UN Institute for Disarmament Research, believed it was highly unlikely that the report truly suggested that Russia was deploying ships armed with tactical nuclear weapons. Rather, he believed that Moscow was relying on vessels that are theoretically capable of carrying nukes.
To further support his view, Podvig cited the numerous reports from US and other intelligence officials that said that they have seen no sign of activity suggesting that Russia is deploying non-strategic nuclear weapons.
So, what should we make of this?
It seems the best bet is to wait and see, and plan appropriately.
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