Russia Strategic Missile Force Commander announced that Moscow plans to deploy rail-mounted nuclear missiles as a defensive measure against the United States’ Prompt Global Strike missile program.
The benefits of a rail-mounted program include the ability to camouflage the missiles amidst commercial rail traffic, unlike more conventional silo-based nuclear missiles which can more easily be located and targeted. The START Treaty, signed by the United States and Russia in 2011, does not prohibit the development of rail-based missiles, although the fact that Russia decommissioned the last of its rail-based missiles eight years ago but is now restarting the program again suggests that Russia would be embarking on a nuclear arms build-up.
Russia’s military build-up would be a response to Washington’s plans to complete a project to install a missile defense system in Redzikowo, Poland by 2018 while another ballistic missile defense system in southern Romania is expected to be operational by 2015. Moscow fears that the missile shield is in fact offensive in nature and part of a NATO military encirclement of Russia.