Oct 30, 2019

New Russian submarine tests intercontinental missile for first time

A Borei-class nuclear-powered submarine after testing launching a Bulava ballistic missile. Photo: TASS via Getty Images

Russia's defense ministry said Wednesday that the country's newest nuclear-powered submarine successfully test fired an intercontinental ballistic missile for the first time, according to Reuters.

Why it matters: Moscow tested the submarine's launching capabilities following the demise of a three-decade-old nuclear arms control treaty between Russia and the U.S.

Details: The new Borei-class submarine launched a Bulava ICBM armed with a dummy payload, while submerged in the White Sea to a test site in Russia's far east.

  • The new class of subs can carry up to 20 missiles and is harder to detect. A single Bulava ICBM can hold a payload of six to 10 warheads, has a range of more than 5,000 miles and is designed to bypass anti-missile defenses, the BBC reports.

The backdrop: The U.S. officially withdrew from the Cold War–era Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia in August, accusing Moscow of repeatedly violating the treaty.

What's next: The New START Treaty, a 2011 U.S.–Russia agreement to reduce the number of warheads in their arsenals, is set to expire in 2021.

  • Washington and Moscow can agree to extend the treaty for an additional five years, but the Trump administration has attempted to draw China into the extended version of the treaty.
  • Former U.S. officials fear that bringing China into extension talks will jeopardize the original agreement between the world's two largest nuclear powers.
  • Defense Secretary Mark Esper has said that extending New START may not make sense, according to AP.

Go deeper: China says it won't "stand by idly" if U.S. deploys missiles in Asia

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Pompeo warns of possible Iranian nuclear "breakout" as tensions escalate

Photo: Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo raised the possibility that Iran is preparing for "a rapid nuclear breakout" in a Thursday statement, highlighting the escalating crisis between Iran and the rest of the international community.

Why it matters: Since President Trump decided to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal last year and engage in a pressure campaign against the country, the Iranian government took steps to reduce their commitment to the 2015 deal.

Go deeperArrowNov 7, 2019

U.S., South Korea cancel joint military exercise condemned by North Korea

Mark Esper. Photo: Jung Yeon-je/pool/AFP via Getty Images

Defense Secretary Mark Esper announced Sunday that the U.S. and South Korea have canceled an annual joint military exercise as an "act of goodwill" in order to “keep the door open” for talks to eliminate North Korea’s nuclear weapons, according to the Associated Press.

The big picture: The U.S. and its regional allies have been trying to coax North Korea back to negotiations to eliminate its nuclear weapons and missiles since talks stalled earlier this year.

Go deeperArrowNov 17, 2019

Putin addresses U.S. impeachment inquiry, 2020 interference

Putin in the Siberian Taiga forest in October. Photo: Kremlin Press Service/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin appeared to address the impeachment inquiry on Wednesday when he told an economic forum in Moscow the "internal political struggles" in the U.S. are having a "negative effect" on American relations with Russia.

Hopefully, no one accuses us of election interferences in the United States. Now they're accusing Ukraine. Well, let them deal with that themselves."
— Vladimir Putin's remarks at the Russia Calling summit
Go deeperArrowNov 21, 2019