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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Expert Calls for More Missiles

Alexei Arbatov, a senior researcher at the Carnegie Moscow Center, on Tuesday called for Moscow to accelerate deployment of its new Topol-M missiles and begin arms control talks with the United States in order to narrow the widening gap in strategic capabilities between the two nuclear superpowers.

His call came amid a swirl of discussion in analytical circles over a recent article in the U.S. journal Foreign Affairs that said that the United States was on the threshold of gaining nuclear primacy.

The article said that Russia today had 39 percent fewer strategic bombers, 58 percent fewer intercontinental ballistic missiles and 80 percent fewer nuclear-armed submarines than it did when the Soviet Union collapsed 15 years ago.

"Russia's leaders can no longer count on a survivable nuclear deterrent," said the article by Keir Lieber and Daryl Press. "And unless they reverse course rapidly, Russia's vulnerability will only increase over time."

Many analysts and politicians perceive the article as a hostile signal from the U.S. administration. But Arbatov said that the furor provoked by its publication was a sign of Moscow's nervousness about its shrinking strategic clout at a time of tension with the United States.

In order to correct the situation, he said, Russia should take advantage of its technological superiority with the unparalleled Topol-Ms -- which he said were capable of penetrating missile defense systems -- and produce 20 to 30 each year instead of the current six to eight.

"I am not calling for an arms race, but for modernization" of Russia's nuclear arms, Arbatov said.