The Strategic Rocket Forces branch of the Russian military is set to complete the replacement of the older Topol-M missile system with the RS-24 Yars among its mobile grouping, the ministry said on Tuesday.
Deri’s criminal offenses make minister appointment unreasonable – A-G
The Defense Ministry also said on Monday that the main tasks of the Long-Range Aviation division (ADD), which is tasked with Russia’s nuclear-capable strategic bombers, would be training, servicing, modernizing and adopting new equipment as it takes part in the Ukraine war.
According to Interfax, ADD commander Lt.-Gen. Sergei Kobylash said last Monday that some of the new equipment will include modernized strategic nuclear bombers and the development and adoption of new hypersonic missiles.
In 2021, Kobylash told Interfax that MiG-31 jet fighters armed with nuclear-capable Kinzhal hypersonic missiles would enter his division. A Kinzhal with a conventional warhead was reportedly used during the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and hypersonic missile-capable MiG-31s have been stationed in Belarus and Kalinigrad over the course of the military campaign.
Russian President Vladimir Putin visits the Admiralty Shipyards in Saint Petersburg, Russia, November 27, 2019. (credit: SPUTNIK/MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV/KREMLIN VIA REUTERS)
“In the course of operational and combat training, the use of aviation weapons is planned,” Kobylash said on Monday. “Work will continue to improve the practical skills of operating automated control systems and information support for high-precision weapons. These tasks in 2023 will be solved during the participation of Long-Range Aviation in a special military operation [Russia-Ukraine War].”
Aircraft from the division have been previously involved in the war, launching cruise missiles against Ukrainian targets. According to Forbes, Tu-22M supersonic bombers were used to carpet bomb Mariupol during the siege of the city in April. Kobylash has been accused by the Ukrainian military of war crimes for the bombing.
“For the first time since the end of the Second World War, under his leadership, heavy bombers carried out carpet bombing of densely populated areas,” said Ukrainian intelligence in a profile on the general.
Concerns over the potential use of tactical or strategic weapons have increased as the Russia-Ukraine War has progressed. Senior Russian military commanders have discussed how and when the Kremlin would use tactical nuclear weapons (TNWs) in Ukraine, The New York Times reported in early November.
Fiery rhetoric has added to these concerns. During his annexation speech, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that “those who are trying to blackmail us with nuclear weapons should know that the wind can turn in their direction.” Former Russian president Dimitry Medvedev also has said that strategic nuclear weapons could be used to defend territory annexed from Ukraine.
In its October 27 National Defense Strategy paper, the Pentagon presented a dire situation in the nuclear balance between the US and Russia.
“Russia continues to emphasize nuclear weapons in its strategy, modernize and expand its nuclear forces, and brandish its nuclear weapons in support of its revisionist security policy.”Nuclear Posture review
FILE – In this photo provided by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, center, attends a ceremony of donating 600mm super-large multiple launch rocket system at a garden of the Workers’ Party of Korea headquarters in Pyongyang, North Korea Saturday, Dec. 31, 2022. Independent journalists were not given access to cover the event depicted in this image distributed by the North Korean government. The content of this image is as provided and cannot be independently verified. Korean language watermark on image as provided by source reads: “KCNA” which is the abbreviation for Korean Central News Agency. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)
The purported difference came as South Korea is seeking a greater U.S. security commitment after North Korea’s record number of missile tests and escalating nuclear doctrine last year caused security jitters among many people in the South.
Some experts say South Korea’s statement on the discussion is likely largely based on an agreement between their defense chiefs in November to conduct table-top exercises, usually computer simulations, annually and further strengthen the alliance’s information sharing, joint planning and execution. In November, they also reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to providing extended deterrence, a reference to a U.S. promise to use full U.S. capabilities, including nuclear, to protect its allies.
In a newspaper interview published Monday, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol said that Seoul and Washington were pushing for joint planning and training involving U.S. nuclear assets and that the United States responded positively to the idea. Asked by a reporter later at the White House about whether the two countries were discussing joint nuclear exercises, Biden replied, “No.”
The White House National Security Council in a statement on Tuesday said Biden and Yoon have “tasked their teams to plan for an effective coordinated response to a range of scenarios, including nuclear use by North Korea.”
A senior Biden administration official said U.S. and South Korean officials are expected to hold table-top exercises soon to chart out a potential joint response to a range of scenarios, including deployment of a nuclear weapon by the North. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss planning.
Moon Seong Mook, an analyst for the Seoul-based Korea Research Institute for National Strategy, said Yoon likely was referring to the November agreement on the alliance’s capabilities, which he said definitely include U.S. nuclear assets that are essential to the U.S. extended deterrence commitment.
While some observers say Yoon’s comments to the Chosun Ilbo newspaper didn’t reveal much new development on the issue, Moon said that Yoon might have tried to emphasize efforts to boost the effectiveness of the U.S. extended deterrence because North Korea is escalating its nuclear threats on South Korea. In the interview, Yoon said he finds it difficult to assure his people of a security guarantee with the current levels of U.S. security commitment.
“This is an unnecessary dispute. Neither side was talking inaccurately,” said Park Won Gon, a professor at Seoul’s Ewha Womans University.
“The extended deterrence is a commitment and a promise but not a treaty or a binding one,” Park said. “For South Korea, they trust the U.S. but think there should be ways to institutionalize it because North Korea’s nuclear threats are rising. To do so, (the joint) planning and execution are the key.”
South Korea has no nuclear weapons and is under the protection of a U.S. “nuclear umbrella,” which guarantees a devastating American response in the event of an attack on its ally. But some experts question the effectiveness of such a security commitment, saying the decision to use U.S. nuclear weapons lies with the U.S. president.
During a recently ended ruling party meeting, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ordered the “exponential” expansion of his country’s nuclear arsenal and the mass-production of tactical nuclear weapons missioned with attacking South Korea, as well as the development of a new ICBM tasked with having a “quick nuclear counterstrike” capability — a weapon he needs to strike the mainland.
On Wednesday, Yoon ordered officials to consider ending a 2018 tension-reduction deal with North Korea if the North launches provocations that violate South Korea’s territory, according to Yonhap news agency. It said Yoon made the instruction during a meeting to discuss North Korea’s recent flying of drones that Seoul says crossed the rivals’ border for the first time in five years.
Yoon’s office didn’t provide many details about his government’s discussion with the United States. Some observers say South Korea is seeking to obtain a greater role in the U.S. decision-making process on the deployment of its nuclear assets in times of tensions with North Korea.
Kim Taewoo, a former head of Seoul’s Korea Institute for National Unification, said the reported South Korea-U.S. discussion likely “benchmarked a NATO-style nuclear-sharing arrangement” that allows NATO member states’ warplanes to carry U.S. nuclear weapons. He said the discussion still appears to be falling short of the NATO arrangement because possible nuclear exercises between the two countries would likely be South Korean air force aircraft escorting U.S. aircraft simulating nuclear strikes during joint drills.
“North Korea would take this sensitively. (South Korea and the U.S.) are discussing this to get North Korea to take this sensitively … because that can be a deterrence against North Korea,” Kim Taewoo said. ___
Associated Press White House correspondent Zeke Miller contributed to this report from Washington.
According to the New York Daily News, Lynn Skyes, lead author of a recent study by seismologists at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory adds that a magnitude-6 quake hits the area about every 670 years, and magnitude-7 every 3,400 years.
A 5.2-magnitude quake shook New York City in 1737 and another of the same severity hit in 1884.
Vowing a harsh response if Hamas acts on threats over Itamar Ben-Gvir’s visit to the mount, lawmaker Zvika Fogel says it would be ‘the last war’ after which ‘we can sit and raise doves and all the other beautiful birds that exist’Share in FacebookShare in Twitter
Far-right lawmaker Zvika Fogel said that should Hamas retaliate over National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir’s Temple Mount visit on Tuesday, Israel would “respond as I think we should, and yes it would be worth it because this will be the last war and after that we can sit and raise doves and all the other beautiful birds that exist.”
Ben-Gvir stated both during and after the election that he wanted to bring about changes to the longstanding religious status quo on the Temple Mount to enable Jews to pray there. On the eve of the election, he stated that he would demand that Netanyahu introduce “equal rights for Jews” on the mountain.
Amid threats from Hamas that such a visit “would lead to an explosion,” the firebrand lawmaker had reportedly agreed with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to delay the visit to the compound.
But a statement from Ben-Gvir declared that “Our government will not submit to Hamas threats. The Temple Mount is the most important place for the people of Israel, and we maintain freedom of movement for Muslims and Christians, but Jews will also go up to the mount.”
The police reported that the minister held a situation assessment with them on Monday evening, at the end of which it was decided to allow his visit to the site “in coordination with the political echelons.” According to the police, the visit to the compound ended “without any unusual incidents.”