- Russia’s Ministry of Defense released a series of videos showing off nuclear weapons launches on October 11, but didn’t show a key part of its nuclear arsenal.
- The videos only showed old missiles launched from old submarines while Russian President Vladimir Putin has promised new weapons and capabilities.
- The videos totally skipped showing ICBMs, suggesting something may have gone wrong.
Russia’s Ministry of Defense released a series of videos showing off nuclear weapons launches on October 11, but didn’t show a key part of its nuclear arsenal.
The Ministry said the “exercise tested the control system of the Armed Forces, as well as the reliability of combat training orders and signals through the whole chain of command.”
Indeed, videos did show the behind-the-scenes command and control conversations by submariners, but videos only showed submarine-launched missiles fired and nuclear-capable bombers taking flight.
No footage of air-launched missiles or ground-launched missiles came out, and the submarine-launched missiles weren’t even Russia’s newest.
Russian President Vladimir Putin frequently brags that his country is developing new and devastating nuclear weapons, as he did in a March 1 speech this year.
But none of the new systems he advertised at that highly-publicized speech showed up.
While Putin stressed the “unstoppable” nature of Russia’s new weapons, the latest videos only show old, Soviet-era submarines launching old Soviet-era missiles.
The submarines were Delta-class as opposed to the newer Borei-class submarines that are supposed to be a match for US subs.
Additionally, as The Diplomat’s Franz-Stefan Gady points out: “Given the critical role that Russia’s ground-based ICBMs play in the country’s nuclear triad, it appears highly unlikely that the ICBMs were deliberately excluded from this year’s exercise.”
Russia frequently shows off its nuclear missiles, but has suffered launch failures in the past. When the US and Russia increasingly look set for an arms race, such a failure could bring heavy embarrassment for Putin, whose popularity has waned lately.