RUSSIA – The coup attempt led by Yevgeny Prigozhin, which failed after a short period, rightly raises these concerns once again. The Wall Street Journal and Reuters articles focus on the concerns of Western nations. According to an article published by the Daily Telegraph, the United States government “feared that Vladimir Putin would lose control of his nuclear arsenal in a coup attempt in Russia by Yevgeny Prigozhin”.
On Saturday, a Ukrainian military organization alleged that Wagner mercenaries were planning to seize a Russian Defense Ministry warehouse in Voronezh Oblast that stored nuclear weapons. The United States Department of State announced earlier this month that it had convened “a meeting of working-level experts from China, France, Russia, and the United Kingdom to discuss issues relating to nuclear weapons, including strategic risk reduction”. They pointed out that it was a routine discussion stating that it had taken place earlier in the month. The current unrest in Russia is unlikely to result in the loss or theft of nuclear weapons, the emphasis being on the likelihood.
Therefore, we don’t have to worry about this possibility. Despite the fact that the Russian government suffers from a wide variety of difficulties, including corruption and inefficiency, it has a remarkably impressive record in controlling and protecting these weapons. Alexander Lebed, a former Russian government consultant on national security issues, made a statement in 1997 claiming that the Russian military had misplaced up to 100 suitcase nuclear bombs.
At least as far as we know in the general public, none of these nukes have ever been located in the past 26 years, and thankfully none of them have ever been detonated. Somehow it managed to happen. In 1998, the Commander-in-Chief of the United States Strategic Command, General Eugene E. Habiger of the United States Air Force, examined Russian nuclear weapon locations and came to the conclusion that, in some respects the Russian sites were arguably more secure than ours: