Russia Policy Allows Use of Nuclear Weapons in Response to Conventional Attacks

Could also use nuclear arms to preempt upon information about attacks

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a new nuclear policy for the Russian Federation. The deterrence policy clarifies that Russia can use nuclear weapons in response to certain conventional attacks. This is roughly in-line with the 10-year policy document it replaced.

In addition to retaliating for conventional attacks, the document also says Russia could deploy a nuclear response to preempt an attack if “reliable information” emerges of a ballistic missile attack against Russia.

Russia’s policy almost perfectly mirrors that of the United States, the world’s other major nuclear weapons power, which has also long resisted pushes to adopt a “no first use” policy. Despite this, both the US and Russia maintain that their arsenals are chiefly for defensive purposes.

China has consistently reaffirmed a no-first-use policy. India likewise takes this position, but has suggested that they could change it in the future. Germany pushed NATO to adopt no-first-use as an alliance-wide policy, but this was rejected.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of