Are Russia’s Nuclear Submarines Off the U.S. Coast?

While Russian President Vladimir Putin’s conflict in Ukraine rages on, U.S. commanders and military observers are raising the alarm about Russia’s submarine fleet’s operations off the coast of the United States.

Since Putin launched a full-scale invasion of neighboring Ukraine last February, the Russian Navy has built up forces in the Black Sea. Officials report a growing presence of Russian submarines near the shores of the United States and in the Mediterranean.

The Russian Navy possesses one of the world’s most diversified submarine fleets. Some can launch ballistic missiles with nuclear warheads, which Moscow views as a crucial element of its strategic deterrence.

The nation has sought to strengthen its submarine force since the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. In recent years, Russia has created a series of submarines with the potential to reach the most vital targets in the United States and continental Europe. Putin announced in December that his country would construct additional nuclear-powered submarines, which according to him, will guarantee the security of Russia for decades to come.

Managing director of the Russia Maritime Studies Institute (RMSI), Michael Peterson, told Newsweek that there are indications that nuclear-powered submarines have been deployed off the coast of the United States, in the Mediterranean, and elsewhere along Europe’s periphery.

According to Peterson, these deployments resemble Soviet-style Cold War submarine deployments.

General Glen VanHerck, the chief of U.S. Northern Command and NORAD, warned in October about the increasing presence of nuclear-powered Severodvinsk-class submarines off U.S. ports. He identified Russia as the nation’s main danger at present.

VanHerck informed the Association of the U.S. Army Conference that Russia recently transported its first Severodvinsk submarine into the Pacific. Another Severodvinsk is currently in the Mediterranean, while another is en route to the Atlantic. There will be a constant, nearby menace capable of transporting a considerable number of land-attack cruise missiles capable of threatening the U.S.

A month ago, OSINT and naval analyst HI Sutton reported that the Russian Navy had increased its presence in the Mediterranean.

VanHerck stated in 2021 that the silence of the submarines was comparable to domestic submarines.

According to Vice Admiral Andrew “Woody” Lewis, the U.S. Navy and the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank has realized that the East Coast is no longer perceived as an “uncontested” area or a “safe haven” for its vessels due to the increasing Russian submarine activity in the Atlantic Ocean.

An increasing number of Russian submarines have been deployed in the Atlantic, and these submarines have become more capable than ever before, deploying for longer durations, and with more devastating missile systems, Lewis stated at the time. U.S. sailors have the mentality that they are no longer unopposed and that they will operate alongside our opponents on every voyage. The precise scope of Russia’s submarine operations is unknown, although Peterson asserts that it has increased significantly over the previous two decades.

Peterson said, however, that he expects the Russian Navy to be “weak” for at least three to five years because of Putin’s conflict in Ukraine. Obviously, the Russian Navy is running out of ammunition. The pace of their campaign against critical infrastructure targets has diminished, and they are firing less frequently, which Peterson believes is a sign that they are running out of firearms or are in low supply.

Peterson believed this would be a vulnerability for the Russian Navy for many years until the war ended, and it could be reconstituted.

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