The most worrisome aspect of Moscow’s intense military buildup is the offensive nature of the weapons and tactics emphasized. The advanced nuclear weapons technology upgrades, including both strategic and tactical weapons being implemented are complemented by advanced conventional weaponry additions.
2014 marked the first time that Russia attained strategic nuclear superiority over the U.S., as well as a ten to one lead in tactical atomic weapons.
As reported by the pro-Moscow news source Sputnik International, the Sevmash shipyard is constructing four next-generation nuclear submarines, the first time in history this many have been constructed at once. The question, of course, is why the economically challenged Putin regime is concentrating so much of its resources on building an offensive-oriented military at a time when there are no threats to Russia. Indeed, at a time when the U.S. defense budget has been cut, when the U.S. Army is being reduced to its lowest level since before World War II, the Navy its lowest level since World War I, and the USAF at its lowest level ever, there remains no credible excuse other than offensive operations for the ongoing, vast Russian buildup.
According to Sputnik, “This year, Sevmash is constructing Yasen-M- and Borei-A-class nuclear-powered submarines, the Kazan and the Prince Vladimir, as well as the multipurpose nuclear submarine Novosibirsk and the nuclear submarine Prince Oleg.” In 2014, the same shipyard constructed and transferred two Yasen- and Borei-class nuclear-powered submarines, the Severodvinsk and the Vladimir Monomakh.”
The same source also reports that the “Russian Air Force and Naval Aviation units are to receive Over 200 New Aircraft in 2015. Also planned for future delivery is an updated long-range military transport plane…The IL-76MD-90A [long range cargo plane] was developed to transport a range of military equipment, armed personnel, heavy and long size vehicles and cargoes.” This is precisely the type of aircraft necessary for operations far from the Russian homeland.
With no threat on its borders, particularly in light of Europe’s underfunded military and the withdrawal of American tanks from Europe in 2014, and the significant U.S. sequestration cuts, there is no defensive reason for the Kremlin’s costly and far-ranging military buildup.
The global reach of Putin’s military stretches far beyond Ukraine, which despite a recent agreement remains the source of ongoing fighting. It extends beyond Europe, which Moscow has threatened with Iskander nuclear missiles (there are no US or European equivalent weapons) and overflights by military aircraft. The United Kingdom’s RAF has had to deter Russian nuclear-capable Bear bombers away from its coast, a continuation of Moscow’s ongoing threatening military flights towards European airspace. Citing the imminent danger of the Kremlin’s military towards the Baltic states, UK defense minister Michael Fallon sounded a cautionary note of the “clear and present danger” against these NATO members.
Russia is aggressively moving to establish a military presence in Latin America. In February, Russian defense minister Sergei Shoigu penned military deals with Cuba, Niaragua and Venezuela. The deals allow Russian naval vessels to dock in the Latin America, establishes joint military drills, and furthers cooperation between the armed forces of the several nations. The deal enhances relations already emplaced by weapons sales.
It is apparently not fashionable for the American press to report much on these matters, and the Obama Administration has demonstrated no significant level of concern.