The Possible Outcomes of a Russian Retaliation in Syria

On April 14, 2018, Britain joined the United States and France in striking several Syrian targets. They struck because they were convinced that President Bashar al-Assad’s regime launched a chemical attack in Douma, Syria on April 7, 2018. The attack reportedly left 1,700 civilians dead.

Russia claims it has “irrefutable evidence” that the Britain “staged” the event. Because Russia is Bashar al-Assad’s ally, it has warned there will be “grave repercussions” for the “illegal action.” Find out the possible outcomes of a Russian retaliation and decide for yourself how scared you should be.

1. The Douma attack

Syrian boys play on a destroyed car in the former rebel-held Syrian town of Douma

1,700 civilians died in the attack. | Stringer/AFP/Getty Images

In February, forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad forces launched a two-day chemical assault on the activist group Douma Revolution in Douma, Syria. The chemical attack reportedly left more than 1,700 civilians dead, according to BBC News.

The Syrian government denies using chemical weapons in the attack and says the rebels are “fabricating” the reports. The Violations Documentation Center (VDC), an organization that records alleged violations of international law in Syria, announced that the Syrian Air Force conducted two separate bombings and it believed each contained toxic chemicals.

Next: U.S. tensions with Russia

2. The U.S. and Russia are in a bad place

Nikki Haley

Nikki Haley didn’t hold back. | Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The U.S. and Russian are in their most combative period since the Cold War ended, according to The Drive. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley believes in Russia’s culpability in the gas attack on Douma.

“The United States is determined to see the monster who dropped chemical weapons on the Syrian people held to account … We must not overlook Russia and Iran’s roles in enabling the Assad regime’s murderous destruction … Either way, the United States will respond,” said Haley.

The Russian ambassador, Vasily Nebenzia fired back with a statement. “We are not particularly keen to be friends with you. We are not begging to be friends with you. What we want from you is really nothing, it’s something that is normal: civilized relations, which you arrogantly refuse, disregarding elementary, basic courtesy… And you are misguided if you think that you have friends … ,” said Nebenzia.

Next: Russia’s massive military

3. Putin has heavily invested in Russia’s military

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin walks near a new Russian fighter jet Sukhoi T-50

Russia has the largest air force in the world. | Alexey Druzhinin/AFP/Getty Images

Vladimir Putin has made a massive investment in the Russian military, according to the Express. Its armed forces consist of more than 1 million active soldiers, and it has more tanks — and the largest air force — than any other military. In addition, Russia owns the most ballistic and cruise missiles in the world. In other words, a Russian military retaliation against the U.S., Britain, or France could be devastating.

Next: Here’s how much Russia spends on its military.

4. Russia comes in third in military spending

Vladimir Putin at the MIssile FOrces Academy

Russia ranks third in the world for military spending. | Mikhail Klimentyev/AFP/Getty Images

The U.S. and China spend the most on their militaries, according to the Express, but Russia is catching up. It ranks third across the globe in military spending — and it spends $69 billion a year in defense. China spends around $146 billion a year, and the U.S. spends around $521 billion. To put that in perspective, Britain spends approximate $47 billion a year.

Next: One wicked weapon

5. Russia can launch mobile ICBM more than 6,000 miles

The missile can reach more than 6,000 miles. | RT via Youtube

Russia’s RS-12M Topol — a mobile ICBM — can counter missile defense systems deployed in South Korea and Europe, according to its government’s claims. And according to the Express, the Topol is tipped with a 800 kiloton nuclear weapon — and the Russians can launch it more than 6,000 miles.

For comparison’s sake, the Hiroshima nuclear bomb yielded 15 kilotons. Clearly, the Topol is a wicked retaliation weapon, should the Russians choose to use it.

Next: Russia’s nuclear arsenal

6. Russia has around 7,000 nuclear warheads

Russia putin address

Russia’s nuclear warheads could do some serious damage. | RT via Youtube

According to the Express, military officials in the U.S. estimate approximately 100 RS-12M Topol launchers are currently deployed. And Russia has approximately 7,000 warheads in its nuclear arsenal.

In 2007, military chiefs tested the new RS-24 Yars ICBM, a weapon that carries multiple, small nuclear warheads as opposed to just one warhead. Its range is similar to the Topol — and Russian can use it to strike any location in the U.S.

Next: Russian sea power

7. Russia’s new submarine

Russia submarine

The nuclear sub has a large attack range. | Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation/Wikimedia Commons

In 2018, the Russian navy debuted its top-secret Yasen-class attack submarine, according to the Express. Russia’s media says the nuclear-powered sub — which contains hundreds of cruise missiles — can attack the U.S. East Coast from the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. The Yasen-class should be in full service in 2018 and Russia has scheduled six more to be built by 2023.

Next: Russia’s ground power

8. Russian troops get plenty of tank support

Russian Tank in Red square

The country has thousands of tanks. | Natalia Kolesnikova/AFP/Getty Images

More than 2,500 battle tanks, including the intimidating T-14 Armata, support its ground troops, according to the Express. Russia says it developed the Armata with extra protection against NATO anti-tank weaponry.

Its main body is heavily armored and its tank has a remote control turret crew members operate from inside. Should Russia decide to retaliate with troops and tanks, it would be a formidable force.

Read more: 7 Things You Need to Know About Russia’s Shocking New Nukes

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