Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov believes that Russia does not need to deploy nuclear forces outside its territory for security purposes. Nonetheless, Lavrov believes that Russian conventional forces must be ready to face conflicts around the globe and could be deployed anywhere in the world.
According to TASS.ru, Lavrov states that Russia will not move nuclear forces outside its territory.
“We do not believe that the security of our country must be maintained by moving our nuclear forces some other places,” he said. “As far as the conventional forces, including the Navy and the Air Force, are concerned, we are interested in ensuring they should be able to cope with tasks around the globe. We use airdromes and ports and are prepared to negotiate the creation of logistic facilities with other countries.”
Minister Lavrov affirms that Russia is not in need of foreign bases like the United States. However, having logistical facilities—pretty much as big warehouse with Russian equipment—in allied countries enables Russia’s military to withstand longer period of deployment without having to depend on supplies coming directly from its territory.
Russia also believes that nuclear weapons deployed in foreign bases is not necessary due to technological advancement. The fact that smaller, faster missiles can hit targets thousands of kilometres away influence strategies.
Lavrov doubts the ‘nuclear zero’ theory advanced by the United States. In fact, according to Lavrov, the United States is working on hypersonic weapons that are more powerful than nuclear weapons, making them even more dangerous.
“The nuclear zero idea looks crafty in a sense. We have not just set the task of banishing nuclear weapons. We have set the task of making the world a safe place,” he said. “That means that we must rely on the new military technologies that have emerged since the invention of nuclear weapons and that influence strategic stability.
“For instance, the United States is developing hypersonic weapons, which will be non-nuclear, but still strategic. The program is called prompt global strike,” Lavrov said. “The ultimate aim is to have the capability to attack any spot on the globe within an hour after the decision has been made.”
“True, this weapon will be more humane than the one used in Hiroshima or Nagasaki, but from the point of view of its military effects it will be more powerful that nuclear weapons,” Lavrov said. “Also, there is a great problem with US plans for putting weapons in space and attaining the same aims from there.”
The statement made by Lavrov needs clarification. The fact that Russian submarines and strategic bombers, both capable of delivering a nuclear payload, are conducting routines missions outside Russia’s territory counts as a nuclear force deployment outside Russia’s territory. Well, theoretically..
It is my understanding that Minister Lavrov is talking about the redeployment of nuclear forces in foreign countries. For example, bases in South Ossetia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Armenia would not have nuclear forces permanently stationed on their location.
In my opinion, Russia doesn’t need to deploy nuclear forces outside its territory mainly due to its size. With the RS-26 Rubezh capable of hitting targets at more than 6,000 km, Russia—with equipment deployed on its territory—can reach pretty much anywhere in the world if they have to.
Yet, I believe Russia has no intentions in deploying nor using nuclear weapons against a threat. The same applies to the United States. We might be on the verge of a new Cold War, but it is very unlikely it will end in a full-scale nuclear war.