Russia's New Arms Give the U.S. Room for Pause

Aug 16, 2019 | 09:00 GMT

This photo shows Russian President Vladimir Putin with an image of a strategic missile
Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers his annual address to the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation in 2018.



  • The recent failure of a Russian Burevestnik missile test highlights the numerous deficiencies in the weapon's development, yet Russia will continue to prioritize the development of the missile and other offensive strategic weapon systems.
  • In so doing, Russia will aim to boost its deterrence and negate U.S. missile defense capabilities as much as possible.
  • Because the Kremlin has prioritized the operational deployment of some programs — despite the technical challenges they face — the United States will be forced to upgrade its overall missile defense systems and strategic capabilities.

The incident itself had immediate and drastic effects: five dead and a spike in radiation that was up to 16 times higher than normal. But the larger fallout from the Aug. 8 explosion of a nuclear-powered cruise missile on Russia's White Sea coast has drawn renewed attention to the development of some of the country's newest, high-tech strategic weapons. The development of the weapon in question fits into Moscow's broader effort to maintain its nuclear deterrent. While Russia's ambitions are pushing the boundaries of its capabilities in some of these projects -- to even deadly results, as the most recent case demonstrates -- the overall effort will undoubtedly force the United States into a response....

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