Although attention is naturally focused on the role of Russia’s conventional forces in the Ukraine conflict , we should not overlook the modernization of the country’s nuclear forces. The last few years has seen Moscow make great progress in stabilizing Russia’s decaying nuclear arsenal. The Russian government considers its nuclear weapons as its best tool of defense, deterrence, and global influence– essential for protecting Russia against external aggression and for preserving its great power status.
Despite recent improvements in Russia’s conventional forces and Russian mastery of the art of non-kinetic hybrid warfare techniques, Moscow continues to invest enormous sums in reviving its nuclear capabilities, which suffered financial and other problems following the end of the Cold War. Nonetheless, Russia’s nuclear buildup will continue to face major challenges in coming years and present risks to other countries.