Afghanistan war: Biden says he does not regret troop withdrawal – BBC News

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-58167408

…US President Joe Biden has said he does not regret his decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, as the Taliban continue to make advances.

Mr Biden urged Afghanistan’s leaders to unite and “fight for their nation”.

Violence has escalated across the country now that US-led forces have all but withdrawn following 20 years of military operations.

The Taliban have taken at least eight of the country’s 34 provincial capitals, and are threatening more.

… Mr Biden said the US was
keeping the commitments it had made to Afghanistan, such as providing close air support, paying military salaries and supplying Afghan forces with food and equipment.

But he said: “They’ve got to fight for themselves.”

New Russian ICBM to enter combat service in 2022: 208-ton Sarmat can carry 16 warheads and has operational range of 18,000km — RT Op-ed

https://www.rt.com/op-ed/531370-sarmat-russian-missile-icbm/

Russia is poised to begin test flights of a new liquid-fueled,
super-heavy intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), Defense Minister
Sergey Shoigu has confirmed. The missiles are expected to enter service
in 2022.
Flight tests [will begin] this year and should be completed in 2022. In 2022, the first
batch should enter service with the strategic missile forces,” Shoigu said on Friday while visiting Krasmash, a machine-building plant in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia.

The new RS-28 Sarmat ICBM is capable of carrying 16 warheads. The advanced
silo-based system features a heavy liquid-propellant intercontinental ballistic missile, and is to replace the R-36M/R-36M2 Voevoda ICBM.

The new missile will be capable of hitting targets using either the North Pole or South Pole route, effectively bypassing any defense system employed by a potential enemy.

Due to its nearly unlimited
range, the Sarmat missile can hit targets in any direction. It also has a very short boost phase, which makes it hard for enemy defense systems
to intercept at that stage.

Sarmat will be equipped with a wide range of powerful warheads, including hypersonic weapons, and the most advanced missile defense penetration systems. Sarmat’s operational range
is 18,000 km.

The ICBM’s mass is 208.1 tons; it has a payload of
over 10 tons and a fuel capacity of 178 tons. The length of the missile
is 35.5 meters, with a diameter of three meters. Its payload comprises multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles.

Currently, Russia’s Strategic Missile Forces have seven types of missile systems in
operation, including fixed-site systems (Voevoda, Stiletto, Topol-M,
Yars) and mobile ones (Topol-M, Topol, Yars). In the near future, the plan is to equip missile units with Sarmat, Avangard and Yars
systems.

Today, the R-36M/R-36M2 Voevoda (with over 40
launchers) is Russia’s most powerful intercontinental ballistic missile. It was designed in the Soviet Union and has been operational since the late 1980s. The Voevoda weighs 211 tons and can carry 10 nuclear warheads of 0.5 megatons each to a distance of 11,000km (16,000km if
equipped with a single reentry vehicle). With CEP accuracy of half a kilometer, the missile is quite precise.

The Voevoda is designed
to eliminate all types of targets protected by advanced air defenses,
including in combat conditions – retaliation is guaranteed even if the
enemy has hit the missile-launching area with multiple nuclear warheads.

The R-36M2 system is expected to stay on combat duty in two regiments based
in Dombarovsky air base in Orenburg Region and Uzhur, Krasnoyarsk Krai, until early 2020s. The new Sarmat will be deployed in the same
locations.

The Sarmat can deliver several types of warheads,
including the Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle. It’s capable of reaching a potential enemy’s targets at hypersonic speeds and provides great maneuverability in terms of both course and altitude. None of Russia’s potential adversaries have a countermeasure to these systems – nor are they likely to develop it in the foreseeable future.



Also on rt.com
Russian Aerospace Forces get a new radar that could strip US military of its trump card

The US is working on a new intercontinental ballistic missile, too. The US Air Force has struck a $13.3 billion deal
with Northrop Grumman to develop a fresh ground-based intercontinental ballistic missile to beef up its strategic nuclear forces. These are
intended to replace the Minuteman III, which is still in service.

A test launch of the new strategic ballistic missile dubbed GBSD is expected to take place in late 2023.

In the US, the Democrats and non-proliferation advocates alike have long been criticizing the new ICBM program. They maintain that the expected cost of upgrading US nuclear forces, currently priced at $1.2 trillion, is simply too
high. Instead, they suggest exploring the possibility of extending Minuteman III service life.

As for the Russian new ICBM, Minister Shoigu said on Friday that he believes the Krasmash plant is ready to
fulfill a long-term contract for the supply of Sarmat to the Russian military.

China expanding its nuclear capabilities, scientists say – BBC News

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-57995185

… Satellite images from Xinjiang province in the west of the country suggest it is

building a nuclear missile silo field, a report from the Federation of
American Scientists (FAS) says.

US defence officials have expressed concern about China’s nuclear build-up…

(BEIJING) JUST IN: China is building a nuclear missile silo field in the west of the country, US scientists say #AceNewsDesk report | Ace News Services

https://acenewsservices.com/2021/07/28/beijing-just-in-china-is-building-a-nuclear-missile-silo-field-in-the-west-of-the-country-us-scientists-say-acenewsdesk-report/

#AceNewsReport – July.28: US defence officials have expressed concern about China’s nuclear build-up: It is the second new silo field reported to be under construction in western China in the last two months.

#AceNewsDesk says according to BBC Asia …China is building a nuclear missile silo field, scientists say Satellite images from Xinjiang province suggest the site could house about 110 silos when it is finished, says the report from the Federation of American Scientists (FAS).

‘Military fanboys’ shared a video threatening nuclear war. This is why China allowed it – ABC News

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-07-20/chinese-local-government-shared-military-video-with-war-threat/100299646

  • A video in which the narrator threatens nuclear war with Japan has been shared by an official Chinese government account
  • One expert says the video is not an official message from Beijing, but the fact it exists means it has been passively endorsed
  • Another analyst says officials within all levels of the CCP compete to “tell China’s story”

China will nuke Japan if it interferes militarily in Taiwan, according to a CCP sanctioned video. – What Now News 24

https://whatnownews24.com/2021/07/19/china-will-nuke-japan-if-it-interferes-militarily-in-taiwan-according-to-a-ccp-sanctioned-video/

… A Chinese Communist Party (CCP) sanctioned video has been circulating that warns Japan against intervening militarily in Taiwan or else it will nuke Japan continuously, despite their policy to not use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear powers. In the video, it says that they will make an exception of the rule of not attacking a non-nuclear country, and continuously bombard it with nuclear weapons if it dares to put even one soldier in Taiwan.

We will use nuclear bombs first. We will use nuclear bombs continuously. We will do this until Japan declares unconditional surrender for the second time. When we liberate Taiwan, if Japan dares to intervene by force – even if it only deploys one soldier, one plane or one ship – we will not only return fire but also wage full-scale war against Japan itself.

CCP sanctioned video.

The narrator in the video also says:

Japan is the only country…

The Nuclear Future of East Asia – China News

Comment by tonyyran2015: This article is a very realistic description of the military balance in East Asia.

https://chinanews.net.au/2021/07/18/the-nuclear-future-of-east-asia/

In the face of North Korea and China’s continuous expansion and advancement in their nuclear arsenal in the past decade, the nuclear question for East Asian countries is now more urgent than ever—especially when U.S.’s credibility of extended deterrence has been shrinking since the post-cold war era...

Saudi Arabia is being accused of developing a secret nuclear weapons programme. – What Now News 24

https://whatnownews24.com/2021/07/10/saudi-arabia-is-being-accused-of-developing-a-secret-nuclear-weapons-programme/

Saudi Arabia is being accused of attempting to develop nuclear weapons as their rival Iran said that they are blocking inspections by the global atomic watchdog. On Thursday, the Iranian ambassador to Vienna-based international organisations Kazem Gharibabadi said that in Saudi Arabia there was a “covert nuclear weapons programme in the country”. He said that he informed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The IAEA is not being provided with even minimum necessary verification authorities.

Kazem Gharibabadi.

Saudi Arabia is a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, an international accord which aims to prevent the spread of atomic weapons across the world. The country is considered to be a non-nuclear state, but it has been long believed that they might be pursuing a nuclear bomb. The accusations by Iran have heightened the fear. Despite repetitive calls, Saudi Arabia is still refusing inspections by the agency.

Back in 2006, a German magazine Cicero revealed satellite images of what looked to be an underground city containing nuclear missiles in al-Sulayil, south of the capital Riyadh. In 2018, Crown Price Mohammad bin Salman said that the kingdom would be interested to pursue a nuclear weapons programme, if Iran manages to develop one.

As usual, the Saudi regime now says that their interest in uranium enrichment is only for civilian purposes. This is unusual, as experts believe that the Kingdom has a cheaper and safer source of alternative energy that they might use – solar energy. Last September, it was revealed that the Kingdom might have enough stores of uranium ore to develop 90,000 tonnes of uranium, showing an ‘extreme interest in developing an atomic weapons programme.’

China appears to be ramping up construction of missile silos in the desert. But could it be a ‘shell game’? – ABC News

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-07-10/china-appears-to-be-ramping-up-construction-of-missile-silos/100273208

“In a full-on war, where the US needs to take out the Chinese strategic nuclear forces, they would need to use a much greater percentage of their nuclear forces to take out those silos,” Dr Davis said.

“And so that would certainly make it more difficult for the US to achieve
that, because it would certainly guarantee a retaliation by China.”

This strategy, dubbed the shell game, …

European powers warn Iran over enriched uranium metal production – BBC News

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-57744952

…Iran’s parliament passed a law requiring the government to bring the
metallic uranium factory at the Isfahan Fuel Fabrication Plant on line within five months.

The law also called for the production of enriched uranium with a 20%
concentration of the most suitable isotope for nuclear fission, called
U-235. Uranium enriched to that level can be used in research reactors,
while weapons-grade uranium is 90% enriched or more.