Putin Vows To Expand Russia’s Nuclear Arsenal

Russian president Vladimir Putin (Getty Images)
June 21, 2024

Russian president Vladimir Putin on Friday pledged to expand Russia’s nuclear arsenal amid tensions with the West and Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

"We plan to further develop the nuclear triad as a guarantee of strategic deterrence and to preserve the balance of power in the world," Putin said Friday during a ceremony at the Kremlin.

Russia’s nuclear arsenal is currently the largest in the world, barely eclipsing that of the United States. Putin has expressed his resolve to use nuclear arms if the "existence of the Russian state, our sovereignty and independence" is threatened, according to the Associated Press. In February 2023, Russia suspended its participation in the 2010 New START treaty, allowing it to increase its nuclear deployments without international oversight.

Russia’s nuclear proliferation is part of a series of recent threats of violence and deterrence from Moscow against the West. Russia on Thursday signed a defensive pact with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, vowing to protect and arm the communist dictatorship.

Dmitry Medvedev, Putin’s deputy chairman of the Security Council, on Friday called Americans "nits" and said Russia would not consider a reduction in nuclear arms until the United States stops supplying Ukraine with "long-range missiles and aircraft." President Joe Biden, in February, said Russia’s suspension of its membership in New START was a "big mistake."