Reuters and the newspaper L’Obs reported last week that the French navy in January detected a Russian ballistic missile submarine off the French Atlantic coast in the Bay of Biscay. There was no military reason for that submarine to be there. Was this Moscow’s latest attempt at nuclear intimidation? The report was sourced to an official in the French defense ministry. On the record, the ministry declined to confirm or deny the story, though a navy official commented to Reuters:

“Russian naval activity has been on the rise for several months, if not years.” Nuclear-armed submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) have long been a part of U.S. and Russian strategic forces. They constitute the most important element of the American strategic triad, deploying some 60 percent of U.S. strategic warheads. Once the submarines go to sea and submerge, they are very hard to find and very survivable. READ MORE