Home Russia Russia Could Reduce Decision Time For Use Of Nuclear Weapons, Says Lawmaker

Russia Could Reduce Decision Time For Use Of Nuclear Weapons, Says Lawmaker

FILE PHOTO: Russia's President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech during a meeting with the leadership of the Russian foreign ministry in Moscow. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

Russia could reduce the decision-making time for the use of nuclear weapons. This was according to Andrei Kartapolov, the head of the Russian lower house of parliament’s defence committee.

Kartapolov said if threats against Russia increased the decision-making time for using such weapons could change.

“If we see that the challenges and threats increase, it means that we can correct something in (the doctrine) regarding the timing of the use of nuclear weapons and the decision to make this use.”

Kartapolov added that it was too early to speak about specific changes to the nuclear doctrine.

Russia’s nuclear doctrine

Russia’s 2020 nuclear doctrine sets out when its president would consider using a nuclear weapon. Broadly it will be used as a response to an attack using nuclear or other weapons of mass destruction or conventional weapons. This will be done “when the very existence of the state is put under threat.”

The Federation of American Scientists confirm Russia and the United States are by far the world’s biggest nuclear powers. They hold about 88% of the world’s nuclear weapons. Both are currently modernising their nuclear arsenals while China is rapidly boosting its nuclear arsenal.

President Putin had said last month that Russia had no need to use nuclear weapons to secure victory in Ukraine. This was the Kremlin’s strongest signal to date that Europe’s deadliest conflict since WWII would not escalate into nuclear war.

Putin says Russia could change doctrine

Putin had also said Russia might change its official nuclear doctrine. It would then set out the conditions under which such weapons could be used. This was viewed as a nod to pressure from hardliners in the Russian elite who believe that Putin should be able to act more swiftly on nuclear escalation and reduce the threshold for use.

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Putin said again last week that the nuclear doctrine might have to be changed. This was because Russia’s adversaries were developing ultra-low-yield nuclear devices.

Growing arms race

Both Moscow and Washington made heavy cuts to the number of their weapons as the Soviet Union crumbled. But many diplomats say they now fear a new arms race.

A senior White House aide said the US may have to deploy more strategic nuclear weapons in coming years to deter growing threats from Russia, China and other adversaries.

Russia says it is interested in discussing arms control with the US. But this will only as part of a broader discussion involving European security and the future of Ukraine.

The US 2022 Nuclear Posture Review says that by the 2030s “the United States will, for the first time in its history, face two major nuclear powers as strategic competitors and potential adversaries.”

With inputs by Reuters