Wagner uprising in Russia raises concerns of possible nuclear crisis

RUSSIA – Intelligence specialists in the West are concerned about the security of Russia’s nuclear arsenal and the stability of the country’s military command after a rebel mercenary commander briefly marched on Moscow over the weekend. Since the leader of Wagner’s paramilitary group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, marched his private army towards the nation’s capital, US authorities say they have detected no change in the posture of Russian nuclear capabilities.

The Russian Defense Ministry’s 12th General Directorate (MOD) oversees a nuclear weapons storage facility in the central Voronezh region, which Wagner’s forces stormed north on Friday after seizing a vital military base in southern Russia. On Saturday, Prigozhin stopped the convoy about 200 km south of Moscow after reaching an agreement with the Kremlin.

Despite the fact that the immediate crisis has been averted, US intelligence continues to monitor the world’s largest nuclear arsenal for any signs of weakness. US officials say there is no need to change the military’s conventional or nuclear force postures, and they stress that the Biden administration is keeping open the avenues it has opened with Russia for years regarding nuclear issues. Officials insist, however, that Russia bears additional responsibility for maintaining command, control and custody of its nuclear forces and preventing any movement that could undermine strategic stability.

On Sunday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed concern to CBS, saying, “Of course when we’re dealing with a great power, and especially a great power that has nuclear weapons, that’s something that concerns us.” Russia’s nuclear stance has not changed in any way. Ours hasn’t changed, but it’s something we’ll be watching closely.

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