By Pavel Felgenhauer, Eurasia Daily Monitor: “The Russian defense minister boasted about his country achieving military parity with the North Atlantic Alliance, “though we spend much less on defense.” Russia has been expanding and modernizing its nuclear triad of ground, sea and air strategic nuclear forces. Nine regiments of new land-mobile and silo-based Yars intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) have been deployed. A typical Strategic Rocket Force (RVSN) regiment fields ten ICBMs. According to Shoigu, by 2021 there will be 17 Yars regiments. The Russian Navy has today nine modern constantly deployed nuclear strategic subs, including three of the new Borei-class vessels with new Bulava ballistic missiles. Within the next four years, there will be 13 strategic subs, including 7 Borei-class submarines.”
By Mark B. Schneider, RealClearDefense: “Russia’s accelerated modernization rate is significant because it is exactly the opposite of what Russia should be doing if it intends to comply with the New START Treaty. Russian New START data for March 1, 2017, eleven months before the deadline when the New START numerical limits come into legal effect, indicated that Russia had moved from below the New START deployed warhead limit of 1,550 at New START entry-into-force in 2011 to 215 warheads above it. (At New START entry into force Russia had 1,537 deployed warheads.) We are now only eight months away from the deadline. Putin’s programmatic announcement will probably increase the number of Russian warheads that have to be removed from accountability by February 5, 2018, to over 300 because Russian single-warhead SS-25 ICBMs are being replaced by Yars ICBMs carrying at least four warheads. The remaining eight months includes a long, cold Russian winter, hardly ideal weather for making the type of changes necessary for Russia to comply with New START."