Fluet Partner, Dave Jonas was quoted in a recent Reuters article titled “Wagner fighters neared Russian nuclear base during revolt.”

Several former U.S. nuclear nonproliferation officials cautioned that it’s difficult to know for sure whether the Russians kept their promise to destroy their backpack-style nuclear weapons. “I don’t believe the Russians still have them, but I wouldn’t bet my life on it,” said David Jonas, former general counsel to the U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration, which tracks atomic weapons and radioactive material worldwide.

Amy Woolf, a nuclear weapons specialist for U.S. lawmakers at the Library of Congress from 1988 to 2022, raised doubts about the potency of such weapons if they do still exist. “It’s possible there’s still some old crap stuck in storage somewhere,” she said. “But is it operational? Almost certainly not.”

Jonas, who advised top Pentagon officials on nonproliferation, agreed, noting that such portable weapons need to be maintained and updated, and degrade over time. He said Russia has struggled to maintain its conventional forces, let alone its atomic stockpile.

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