Russia is set to install more than 100 more advanced nuclear warheads by 2020, as part a major modernization effort aimed at countering Western sanctions, state media reported Monday.
Ahead of the first summit of the new Russian Nuclear Forces Command, the state-run Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported that the warheads would be installed in the early 2020s in preparation for the 2020 Olympics in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.
The move comes amid a sharp increase in the number of Russian military exercises in recent months.
Last month, the Russian Air Force deployed a stealth bomber, the Il-76, in the Arctic Ocean, to demonstrate its ability to strike the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam.
The announcement comes after the Kremlin announced a $7.7 billion modernization plan in April, and a report in April from the International Institute for Strategic Studies found that Russia was moving toward a nuclear weapons modernization strategy in which the country aims to increase its nuclear arsenal to up to 200,000 nuclear warheads.
The IISS report cited a top official at Russia’s General Staff as saying that the modernization of Russia’s strategic nuclear forces was expected to begin in 2020, with the modernization “being carried out with the help of a global strategic network.”
It is not clear when the first of the 100 new nuclear warheads will be installed.RIA Novo also said that the country would invest more than $400 million to prepare for future attacks against targets across the globe, including the U,S., South Korea and U.K.
The Russian nuclear modernization plan is part of Russia at a time of global economic uncertainty.
The Kremlin has been trying to strengthen its military and economic power in the face of growing Western sanctions over its annexation of Crimea and ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine.
In March, the U the U., Britain and France agreed to cut Russia’s oil and gas revenues to balance its budget.