As tensions continue to grow, the use of blackmail for deterrence seems to have become a practice increasingly employed by Russian, but also North Korean and even Chinese leaders, while the West lacks a response in this matter. .
Barely a few days after the start of military operations in Ukraine, Vladimir Putin ordered his Chief of Staff and his Minister of Defense in a highly publicized manner to put Russian strategic forces on high alert , in response to the first set of sanctions coming from the United States and Europe against Russia in response to this aggression.
Since then, Moscow has repeatedly repeated its strategic threats to try to prevent Westerners from interfering in the ongoing conflict, and to provide increasing support to the Ukrainians.
If this did not prevent the United States, Great Britain and many European countries from delivering increasingly heavy weapons as the Ukrainian resistance grew in power, this posture nevertheless convinced the West to give up deliver certain advanced equipment such as combat aircraft, anti-aircraft systems or long-range artillery, as well as to intervene militarily in the conflict, for example by imposing a no-fly zone over the country.
For Admiral Charles Richard, commander of the US Strategic Command, we must now expect this type of deterrence blackmail to multiply in the balance of power between the West and Russia, but also in the face of China.
Despite the treaties prohibiting short and medium-range nuclear-capable weapons in Europe, Moscow has in fact equipped itself with numerous dual-capability systems, capable of carrying conventional as well as nuclear charges, likely to be used for this purpose. type of blackmail.
This is notably the case of the 9M273 Iskander-M short-range ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear charge of 50 kilotons to 500 km in a semi-ballistic trajectory designed to thwart Western anti-missile defenses, as well as the 3M-cruise missile. 54/14 Kalibr with a range of 1500 km embarked on board Russian corvettes, frigates and submarines (precisely to counter the INF treaty which only concerned land-based missiles), or the 9M729 Iskander-K cruise missile which caused the withdrawal of the United States from the INF Treaty .
Likewise, the new Russian hypersonic missiles also have dual capabilities, such as the Kinzhal with a range of 2000 km capable of carrying a nuclear charge of 100 to 500 kilotons, and the 3M22 Tzirkon anti-ship missile capable of carrying a nuclear charge estimated at 200 kt.
On the Chinese side, it is the same, with missiles like the DF-21 with a range of 1500 km and capable of carrying up to 6 autonomous nuclear warheads of 200 to 500 kt, the DF-26 with a range of 4500 km, and the DF-17 with an estimated range of more than 2000 km and carrying a nuclear charge within a hypersonic glider.
More recently, Beijing revealed the existence of naval and airborne ballistic missiles with power and capabilities comparable to those of the DF-21. In addition, Chinese strategic forces have undertaken the construction of at least 360 hardened silos to accommodate its new fleet of solid-fueled intercontinental ballistic missiles in the coming years, while over the past two years, Beijing has seen the number of its warheads available nuclear resources doubled, to the amazement of the US intelligence services who estimated that it would take China around ten years to achieve this.
The rest of this article is reserved for subscribers –
Classic subscriptions give access to all articles without advertising , starting at €1.99.