Although construction is evident on satellite and has been monitored by groups that track the proliferation of new nuclear facilities, officials have never talked about it publicly.
For Julian E. Barnes's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
There is no question that the decision to give Ukraine the weapons they have requested for weeks marked a major escalation in the kind of military aid that Washington is providing.
Ukrainian officials said they have killed approximately 12 generals on the front lines, a number that has astonished military analysts.
Officials are debating the Kremlin’s calculations in not trying harder to halt arms shipments. Analysts wonder whether a bigger mobilization by Moscow is on the horizon.
The West is focused on sending longer-range weapons like howitzers, anti-aircraft systems, anti-ship missiles, armed drones, armored trucks, personnel carriers and even tanks.
The immediate concern is what Putin may do next — driven by a desire to rescue a failing military effort or reestablish his credentials as a force to be feared.
Navigating between aiding Ukraine and avoiding an escalation with Moscow has led to a tangle of decisions and sometimes tortured distinctions over weapons and other elements of policy.
Moscow was eyeing help from Beijing to help counteract the battering its economy has taken from broad sanctions imposed by the U.S., European and Asian nations.
American and European officials describe a desperate race against time as they aim to get arms delivered to Ukrainian forces while their supply routes are still open.
Ukrainian troops are mounting a stiffer-than-expected resistance to Russian forces, fighting with a resourcefulness that could trip up Russian troops for weeks or months to come.