Moscow has deployed nuclear capable Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) to the Tver Oblast region of Russia, which is close to the Belarusian border.
This comes as there is an increase in tension as both Russian and Ukrainian forces are involved in fierce fighting in Soledar and Bakhmut where thousands on both sides have been killed in recent weeks.
Russia has deployed the Yars PGRK ICBMs on “combat patrol routes” which can evade missile defence systems.
The ICBMs are part of Russia’s Strategic Missile Forces which are for the purpose of a nuclear deterrence.
The Russian Ministry of Defence said in a statement, “In the Bologovsky missile formation (Tver region), autonomous launchers of the Yars PGRK have been deployed to combat patrol routes.”
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The Ministry added the crews of the systems “will carry out the tasks of completing a march up to 100 kilometres long, dispersing units with a change in field positions, their engineering equipment, organising camouflage and combat protection.”
They added, “Planned combat training measures make it possible to check the readiness of personnel, as well as weapons and military equipment, for long-term duty on combat patrol routes.”
The Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance (MDAA) said, “The RS-24 Yars has been at the forefront of Russian efforts to modernise its nuclear forces.
“The Yars gives the ground-based element of Russia’s Nuclear Triad increased effectiveness through its ability to evade missile defense systems.
“The missile has the capability to manoeuvre during flight and deploy both active and passive decoys which gives Yars the advantage against modern missile defense systems.”
They added: “The RS-24 is Road-mobile and can deploy in retired Russian missile silos making the missile more difficult to detect.
“This coupled with the fact that the Yars only takes 7 minutes to launch poses serious threats to the missile defense system used by the US to protect its homeland and its allies.”
The British Ministry of Defence (MoD) said in an intelligence briefing in December, “Russia is likely removing the nuclear warheads from ageing nuclear cruise missiles and firing the unarmed munitions at Ukraine.”
The MoD added, “Whatever Russia’s intent, this improvisation highlights the level of depletion in Russia’s stock of long-range missiles.”