Moscow has replaced Northern Fleet forces deployed for the war in Ukraine with tactical nuclear weapons in the Northern Fleet for the first time since the collapse of the Soviet Union.
This is stated in the annual report of Norwegian military intelligence. Oslo fears that the deployment of nuclear warheads is “a particularly serious threat in several scenarios that could involve NATO countries,” the report said. The reason is that mutual mistrust “increases the risk of unwanted events and misunderstanding between Russia and NATO“.
The Norwegian Ministry of Defence’s report, Fokus 2023, confirmed that “a central part of (Russia‘s) nuclear capability is located in the ships and submarines of the Northern Fleet“.
Norwegian media write that one has to go back to the Cold War to remember how warships with nuclear weapons set sail from the Arctic port of Severomorsk on the Kola Peninsula, which borders both Norway (NATO member) and Finland (candidate).
Along with the weakening of conventional forces, that of nuclear forces is growing and “a local war cannot be ruled out, which will turn into a larger conflict and directly involve Russia, the United States and NATO“, continues the report of the services in Norway, which is not member of the EU.
“Ground forces on the Kola Peninsula are down to a fifth of their pre-invasion numbers in Ukraine,” the report said. “Russia‘s conventional forces have been significantly weakened by the offensive against Ukraine, and much of what remains there is war-related. In addition, (Russia) has expended three-quarters of its advanced surface-to-surface missiles in Ukraine,” the report continued, but specified that this does not make Moscow less dangerous given its reserves of old equipment. Its nuclear forces remain “the same as before the war“, the air force and the navy remain “generally intact“.
The information comes before the anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Yesterday, the Financial Times reported that Russia was massing helicopters and jets along the border, a sign that it was preparing to send air support for its ground offensive. This is probably one of the reasons for prioritizing the rapid dispatch of more air defense systems, say Western interlocutors to the media.
The Norwegian intelligence report stated that “Russia planned the total occupation of Ukraine, and its ambition was to take over as much of its infrastructure as possible (while remaining) intact.”
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