The Russian Arctic Threat: Consequences of the Ukraine War

CSIS – The impact of Russia’s war in Ukraine has been felt in the Arctic. The region’s primary diplomatic venue is paused, and military tensions are increasing. When Sweden and Finland join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), every Arctic country save Russia will be a member of the U.S.-led alliance. The war has not diminished Russia’s core economic and security interests in the region, but it has had some impact on its military readiness there in the short term, especially in terms of ground capabilities, if not at sea or in the air. In addition, there are some preliminary indications that sanctions and export controls may diminish Russia’s ability to deploy precision munitions to the Arctic to a degree. At the same time, Russia’s use of hybrid tactics in the region seems to be increasing in both frequency and severity. The United States and NATO will need to take stock of these developments in a region they have not historically prioritized as they begin to implement their new, respective strategies.

Russia Has Built Its First Production Batch Of Poseidon Nuclear Torpedoes

War Zone – A report in the Russian media claims that the first production examples of the country’s Poseidon nuclear-powered, nuclear-tipped, ultra-long-endurance torpedoes have been built. These will initially be provided to the Russian Navy’s shadowy Project 09852 Belgorod, the world’s longest submarine — but, at this stage, it’s unclear if the torpedoes actually have their nuclear warheads fitted.

Russia’s Twenty-First-Century Naval Strategy—Combining Admiral Gorshkov with the Jeune École

US Naval War College Review – Both France after the Franco-Prussian War and post-Soviet Russia found themselves squeezed in multipolar worlds, with poor economies and loss of industrial power. Alongside Admiral Gorshkov’s continuing influence, modern Russian naval thinking has evolved toward an emphasis on smaller surface units with advanced capabilities—similar to the Jeune École concept—with implications for Western naval planning.

Russia tests Il-80VKP submarine communication system

Scramble – Russia’s ‘Doomsday’ plane, the Ilyushin Il-80VKP (Il-86VzPU), NATO code Maxdome, is the airborne command post of the Russian President in the event of a nuclear attack, also called the Flying Kremlin. Recently, the Il-80VKP has been tested with an updated system which maintains regular communication with submerged nuclear submarines. For such a task, the aircraft has been updated with a new ultra-long wave communication complex which can set up a connection with an extended submersible communication antenna towed by the submarine.

(Thanks to Alain)

Russia’s Militarization of the Kuril Islands

CSIS – Overshadowed by the invasion of Ukraine, Russia’s recent and rapid militarization of a group of islands claimed by Japan has flown largely under the radar. Taken by Russia at the end of World War Two, Kunashiri, Etorofu, Shikotan, and the Habomai islands of the Kuril Island chain, which Japan claims as its “Northern Territories,” have  complicated relations between the two states for decades.

Relative Dominance: Russian Naval Power in the Black Sea

War On the Rocks – Russia’s naval strategy in the Black Sea cannot be divorced from its wider military objectives. A major defeat of Russia’s forces on Ukrainian territory is likely to force the Kremlin into its Black Sea bastion, from where it can seek to use its relative naval strength to maintain a military status quo, lock in a frozen conflict or buy enough time to rearm for future attacks on Ukraine. Russia still feels as though it has some degree of strategic depth in the Black Sea.