Russia nuclear bunker upgrade, New satellite images appear to show Russia has upgraded a nuclear weapon’s storage bunker in Kaliningrad as tensions with the West continue to rise, according to a report from the Federation of American Scientists (FAS).
The group has published the photos showing what appears to be an effort to excavate and deepen the bunker, and also the addition of a new concrete roof.
“It has all the fingerprints of typical Russian nuclear weapons storage sites,” Hans Kristensen, the director of the nuclear information project at FAS, said in a blog post to accompany the images.
“There is a heavy-duty external perimeter of multilayered fencing. The bunkers themselves have triple fencing around them as well. These are typical features from all the other nuclear weapons storage sites that we know about in Russia,” Mr Kristensen wrote.
Work on the bunker began in 2016, and the roof was reportedly added more recently.
“The features of the site suggest it could potentially serve Russian Air Force or Navy dual-capable forces. But it could also be a joint site, potentially servicing nuclear warheads for both Air Force, Navy, Army, air-defense, and coastal defense forces in the region,” Mr Kristensen wrote.
“It is to my knowledge the only nuclear weapons storage site in the Kaliningrad region,” he continued.
Kaliningrad is one of the places hosting football World Cup matches as Russia hosts the international tournament.
But, Mr Kristensen noted that FAS has been looking at the site for quite a while, and that the satellite photos do not show conclusively that nuclear weapons have been moved to the site — which is situated between Poland and Lithuania — or if the renovations have been made in order to make it possible to quickly move nuclear weapons in if needed.
“It’s a site we have been monitoring for quite some time and there have been and there have been some upgrades in the past but nothing as dramatic as this one. This is the first time we’ve seen one of the nuclear bunkers being excavated and apparently renovated,” Mr Kristensen said.
“These pictures don’t prove that there are nuclear weapons in Kaliningrad now, but they do show it is an active site,” Kristensen said.
Earlier this year the Russian military announced that it was expanding infrastructure in order to accommodate the presence of mobile Iskander-M missiles, which can carry conventional or nuclear warheads, and have a range of up to 500 miles.
The United States has argued that that long range makes the weapons illegal under the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty.