War in Ukraine: behind the Russian nuclear threat, an overpowering arsenal

How, after four days of fighting, could the second army in the world be forced to brandish such a threat to overthrow…

How, after four days of fighting, could the second army in the world be forced to brandish such a threat to overthrow Kiev? From this angle, and in the light of the colossal means of the Russian forces, it is incomprehensible. Except to consider that it is first of all a warning addressed to Europe. Who, at the same time, multiplied the sanctions against Moscow and recorded the fact of delivering weapons to the Ukrainian resistance fighters.

intelligence services

“Vladimir Putin is always one step ahead, observes General Christophe Gomart, the former boss of the COS, the command of the special forces. He plays chess when we play checkers. But, he continues, between making this announcement and using nuclear weapons, it is not at all the same thing. For me, it raises the pressure. The next few hours will be enlightening on the intentions of the Russian president. As General Gomart points out: “The intelligence services monitor troop movements very closely and we always watch what the nuclear forces are doing. In his eyes: “Westerners had to know, before Putin’s announcement, whether they are really on the alert or not. »

Be that as it may, this threat from Vladimir Putin, which in military memory has no precedent, also reminds us that Russia is the leading nuclear power. According to estimates by the SIPRI observatory, in 2021 the Russian nuclear arsenal consisted of 6,255 nuclear warheads of which 1,625 would be deployed, that is, installed on missiles or positioned on bases with operational forces . To understand the balance of power present, the United States would have 5,550 warheads, of which 1,800 would be deployed. France, the only country in the European Union to be equipped with nuclear fire, would have 290 nuclear warheads, 280 of which are deployed. Which feed the two components of our nuclear deterrent: the airborne and the oceanic.

More than 20,000 days of nuclear alert

On October 4, 2021, the French strategic air forces, based at base 113 in Saint-Dizier, turned 55. This mission supposed to create “unacceptable damage” in the adversary began on October 8, 1964, on the air base 118 of Mont-de-Marsan. That day, a Mirage IV, equipped with an AN11 nuclear bomb, took off to write the very first page of this book which has never been closed. Since then, more than 20,000 days of alert have followed one another without interruption, the Rafale having replaced the Mirage IV.

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