Can Russia Possibly Use Nuclear Weapons In Syria?

Russia is considering using nuclear weapons against ISIS targets in Syria, which has triggered fears over a potential global nuclear war in the West.

Can Russia Possibly Use Nuclear Weapons In Syria?

Russian President Vladimir Putin said the new cruise missiles could be equipped with nuclear warheads, but that he hopes they would “never be needed,” according to RT.

Putin’s statements come after Russia fired cruise missiles from its submarine at the ISIS targets in Syria. Putin has praised the Russian cruise missiles fired against the militant group from the sea, and added that he hopes these weapons would not have to be armed with nuclear warheads.

“We must analyze everything happening on the battlefield, how the weapons operate,” the President said during his meeting with Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.

“The Kalibrs (sea based cruise missiles) and KH-101 (airborne cruise missile) have proved to be modern and highly effective, and now we know it for sure – precision weapons that can be equipped with both conventional and special warheads, which are nuclear,” Putin said.

“Naturally, this is not necessary when fighting terrorists and, I hope, will never be needed,” Putin added.

Russia’s growing nuclear potential in Syria

Shoigu reported to the President the latest results of the military operation against ISIS (aka Daesh, Islamic State, ISIL, IS) in Syria, and Putin then made the notable remark about the nuclear weapons.

The Defense Minister also said the TU-22 bombers were involved in the most recent raids against ISIS targets, and reported that the militant group’s munitions depot, factory manufacturing mortar rounds and oil facilities had been destroyed. Shoigu added that the Russian military had informed the U.S. and Israel prior to launching the airstrikes.

On Tuesday, the Russians used a Kilo-class submarine – the Rostov-on-Don – to launch rounds of cruise missiles against ISIS installations near the Syrian province of Raqqa, which is basically the capital of ISIS in Syria. A submerged submarine fired water-to-surface cruise missiles from the Mediterranean Sea, Shoigu told Putin.

Earlier this year, Kalibr and KH-101 cruise missiles have been deployed and used for the first time in Moscow’s counter-terrorist operations in Syria.

Russia launched its airstrikes campaign in Syria on 30 September.

Russia’s deploys ‘doomsday’ plane in preparation for nuclear war

Putin’s comments come amid heightened tensions between NATO and Russia. In late November, Turkey – a NATO member state – shot down a Russian jet over its airspace, which triggered a furious response in the Kremlin, with many analysts suggesting that Moscow is willing to unleash a nuclear war over the incident.

The incident with the Turkish military shooting down the Russian warplane has already been named the most alarming military encounter between NATO and Russia’s forces in over 50 years.

ValueWalk reported last week that Russia is now fully prepared for a nuclear war with NATO with its cutting-edge flying command center capable of maintaining full control over Russia’s armed forces in the event of nuclear war.

The airborne command center, which has already been named a ‘doomsday plane’ by the Pentagon, thanks to its technical capabilities, is capable of managing and distributing tasks to all units of Russia’s armed forces: ground forces, Navy, aerospace forces as well as strategic missile forces.

A potential enemy – whether it is NATO, the U.S. or Turkey – in case of a military confrontation against Russia, will struggle to destroy the flying command center because its main advantage is its “invincibility,” according to the production company that designed the command center.

Russia can destroy New York with one nuclear strike

According to a recently published report, Russia currently possesses 1,643 deployed strategic warheads, while the U.S. has 1,642, according to data exchanged between Russia and the U.S. on October 1, 2014.

But it’s not the number of warheads that matter in the event of nuclear war, but Russia’s land-based strategic forces, which have the kind of explosive magnitude that is greater than anything in U.S.’s military arsenal.

The report indicated that a nuclear exchange between Washington and Moscow will undoubtedly have “catastrophic consequences” for both sides, and even for the entire planet. But at the same time. there are certain factors that could result in Russia winning any nuclear war, according to the report.

Take Russia’s SS-18, for example. The missile has already been named ‘Satan’ by the Pentagon and NATO, and is capable of destroying an area the size of the New York state. The SS-18 carries 10 warheads, each having a force of 750 to 1000 kiloton, while some of these missiles have a single ‘secret’ deadly 20,000 kiloton warhead. And that’s 1333 times Hiroshima.

In what proves to be a yet another sign that Russia is actively preparing for a nuclear war, it was reported by ValueWalk last week that Russia has already started picking nuclear-powered allies for imminent nuclear war with NATO. In particular, the Kremlin wants to strengthen military ties with Pakistan and China.

Russia halts Turkey nuclear work

Russia has halted Turkey nuclear construction works, according to the Daily Mail. The British news outlet reported on Wednesday, citing Turkish energy officials, that Russia’s Rosatom has halted nuclear construction works at Turkey’s first nuclear power plant.

The move appears to be Russia’s response to Turkey shooting down the Russian jet in late November. Russia has not fully terminated the contract for the construction of the project, and will unlikely do so because of the severe compensation issues, according to Turkish energy officials.

But still, Turkey is forced to start looking elsewhere to find other potential candidates for the $20 billion project.

Russia halting the nuclear project in Turkey is unlikely to do any damage to the country’s energy supplies in the near term, since the nuclear power plant was scheduled to become fully operational after the year of 2022.

In an attempt to strip itself off extreme reliance on imported energy supplies, Turkey in 2013 offered Russia’s Rosatom to build four-1,200 megawatt reactors.



About the Author

Polina Tikhonova
Polina Tikhonova is a writer, journalist and a certified translator. Over the past 7 years, she has worked for a wide variety of top European, American, Russian, and Ukrainian media outlets. Polina holds a Master's Degree in English Philology from the University of Oxford and a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from the Saint Petersburg State University. Her articles and news reports have been published by many newspapers, magazines, journals, blogs and online media sources across the globe. Polina is fluent in English, German, Ukrainian and Russian.