Russia has begun deploying tactical nuclear weapon-armed vessels in the Baltic Sea for the first time in the last 30 years, the Norwegian Intelligence Service said in its annual report, writes POLITICO.
“The key part of the nuclear potential is on the submarines and surface ships of the Northern Fleet”, the Norwegian intel noted.
The Northern Fleet warships regularly went to sea with nuclear weapons during the Cold War era, but this is the first time the modern Russian Federation has done the same, the report added.
While Russia also has submarine capabilities, anti-satellite weapons and cyber capabilities that could threaten Norway and the NATO military alliance, tactical nuclear weapons are “a particularly serious threat in several operational scenarios in which NATO countries may be involved”, the report said.
The Norwegian intelligence also noted that an escalation of a localized war into a wider conflict involving the United States, NATO and Norway cannot be ruled out.
The agency assessed that while Russia will maintain, modernize and develop its nuclear arsenal, no significant changes in Russian nuclear doctrine are expected in the coming years.