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Russia’s military might is at its greatest since the Cold War, a report by a British think-tank says. The country’s nuclear weaponry and air forces are gaining particular strength according to the report.
Moscow has an estimated 6,375 nuclear warheads compared to America’s 5,800 and Britain’s 215, according to the Arms Control Association.
The Soviet Union had around 40,000 warheads at its peak but fears of a new arms race have grown after the US backed out of a Cold War-era treaty last year.
The experts say this increase in military might is due in part to increased investment over a period of nearly ten years.
The IISS said: “The re-equipment programme has been complemented by reforms to create a core of professional military, much of it held at a high state of readiness, rather than depend on conscription.
“Russia also retains one of the world’s two largest strategic arsenals.
“The Strategic Dossier concludes that Russia’s armed forces are today a capable military tool that Moscow has demonstrated a willingness to use or to threaten the use of.”
The think tank adds “Russia is today a far more capable military power than it was in the early 2000s or at any time since the fall of the Soviet Union”.
It claims the analysis of Russia’s military capabilities at this point in time “could not be more important,” claiming Russia is “increasingly trying to exert control in neighbouring states.”
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It also points to “deteriorating” relationships between Russia and NATO – the global security alliance featuring 30 countries.
Recently, Russian president Vladimir Putin addressed delegates at the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly.
The leader praised the UN for “adequately fulfilling its main mission – to protect the world” and also spoke of the “fundamentally new challenge” of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mr Putin also highlighted what he referred to as ‘green corridors’ – allegedly a Russian proposal – which allow essential goods and food to be transported to combat the pandemic free from sanctions.
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He also blasted ‘illegitimate sanctions’ without referring to any specifically, calling for a more general relaxation of world trade barriers, and also insisted Russia would “persistently propose constructive, uniting initiatives” relating to arms control and “biological and toxin weapons.”
However, less than two months ago Russian dissident Alexei Navalny fell ill on a flight in Siberia. Doctors in Germany later announced he had been poisoned.
The Kremlin opposition activist recently blamed Mr Putin for the poisoning, which he said involved a Novichok nerve agent – the same used against Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury in 2018.
Mr Navalny told German newspaper Der Spiegel: “I asset that Putin is behind the act. I don’t see any other explanation.”
Russia denies this, and a spokesman for Mr Putin said there is no evidence of nerve agent use, according to the BBC.
Mr Navalny added he wanted to go back to Russia despite the attack, saying: “Not going back would mean that Putin had achieved his goal.”
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