Russian nuclear weapons are still in the possession of the country, but fears of its use have definitely receded from public attention during the past few years. In fact, there have been active attempts to reduce arms stockpiles in both the United States and Russia, as well as efforts to use diplomacy to deescalate global tensions.
Decrease in Nuclear Arms Stockpiles
The United States has made notable progress in reducing nuclear arms stockpiles, recently surrendering the last land-based, short-range nuclear missile to the custody of Russia. This milestone marked the depletion of the last of its nuclear weapons under the terms of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty between Russia and the United States. Russia still retains some nuclear arms, but it has also reduced its stockpile significantly since the 1990s.
Efforts to Make Nuclear Weapons Abolishable
The US government is attempting to make nuclear weapons more manageable by developing initiatives to make them more traceable and controllable. The Obama administration signed the New Start Treaty with Russia, which has been in effect since 2011 and requires both countries to reduce their nuclear stockpiles. The US government has also worked to spread global awareness of the potential dangers of nuclear weapons, in an effort to make them more abolishable in the long term.
Efforts to Deescalate Global Tensions
Global tensions have decreased noticeably since the Cold War era. There have been numerous successful diplomatic initiatives between the United States, Russia and other countries to avoid nuclear conflict and reduce global tensions. This includes the making of mutual defense arrangements and economic cooperation agreements, as well as the use of international sanctions to punish aggressive or threatening behavior by certain countries.
Overall, fears of nuclear weapons use in Russia have diminished significantly in recent years. This is due to numerous factors, such as reduced nuclear arms stockpiles, efforts to trace and control nuclear weapons, and diplomatic efforts to deescalate global tensions. While Russia still retains a sizable nuclear arsenal, fears of its use have been put to rest, at least for the time being.
With that being said, continuous efforts to reduce the spread and use of nuclear weapons around the world must be made in order to achieve long-term peace and security. The recent meeting between the United States and Russia in Vienna, Austria has served to allay global concerns of a potential nuclear arms race.
While the U.S. and Russia have a long history of animosity, new tensions arose in the past few years due to a post-Cold War arms reduction treaty, or New START Treaty, that was set to expire. The treaty, in place since 2010, was meant to reduce each side’s deployed strategic nuclear weapons and placed caps on missile defense systems.
The two countries have agreed to extend the treaty for five years and have pledged to begin new negotiations to reduce further and modernize the current stockpile of nuclear arsenals. This promises to reduce any fears of nuclear weapons use, at least for the time being.
The leaders of both nations have publicly expressed optimism towards the extension of the New START Treaty. President Joe Biden declared soon after the negotiation that “extending the New START Treaty was the right thing to do for our national security and the security of our allies and partners.” Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that, “The extension of the treaty will increase international stability and strategic security.”
This agreement is also a welcome relief for the global community, which has been concerned about the derailment of the post-Cold War nuclear arms control process due to the two superpowers’ difficult relationship. The Minsk Agreement, a peace process for ending the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, has also achieved an impressive level of long-term stability and serves to complement the New START Treaty extension.
In light of this recent diplomatic achievement, worries of a nuclear arms race betwen the two powers have been calmed for now and peace among the world is further secured. We remain hopeful that the future of nuclear disarmament is bright and that both countries will continue to engage in diplomatic negotiations in the name of global security.