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Russia says U.S. lowering ‘nuclear threshold’ with newer bombs in Europe

  • Russia warns US about new B61s
  • Russia says NATO is strengthening nuclear plans
  • Russia: Newer bombs are of strategic significance

LONDON, Oct 29 (Reuters) – Russia stated on Saturday that the accelerated deployment of modernized US B61 tactical nuclear weapons to NATO bases in Europe would decrease the “nuclear threshold” and that Russia would issue the transfer into its navy planning .

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has sparked essentially the most severe confrontation between Moscow and the West for the reason that 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, when the 2 Cold War superpowers got here closest to nuclear struggle.

Russia has about 2,000 operational tactical nuclear weapons, whereas the United States has about 200 such weapons, half of that are on bases in Italy, Germany, Turkey, Belgium and the Netherlands.

Politico reported on October 26 that the United States stated at a closed NATO assembly this month that it could speed up the deployment of a modernized model of the B61, the B61-12, with the brand new weapons coming in December, a couple of months earlier, would arrive at European bases than deliberate.

“We cannot ignore the plans to modernize nuclear weapons, these free-fall bombs that are in Europe,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko instructed the state information company RIA.

The 12-foot B61-12 gravity bomb carries a nuclear warhead with a decrease yield than many earlier variations, however is extra correct and might penetrate underground, in response to a Federation of American Scientists examine revealed in 2014.

“The United States is modernizing them, increasing their accuracy and reducing the power of the nuclear charge, that is, turning these weapons into ‘battlefield weapons’, thereby lowering the nuclear threshold,” Grushko stated.

The Pentagon didn’t reply to a request for remark outdoors of US enterprise hours. Politico quoted a spokesman as saying nuclear particulars weren’t being mentioned however modernization of the B61 weapons had been underway for years.

Amid the Ukraine disaster, President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly said that Russia will defend its territory by any means accessible, together with nuclear weapons, in the occasion of an assault. The feedback sparked specific concern in the West after Moscow stated final month it had annexed 4 Ukrainian areas, components of which its armed forces management. Putin says the West has engaged in nuclear blackmail towards Russia.


US President Joe Biden stated Oct. 6 that Putin had introduced the world nearer to “Armageddon” than at any time for the reason that Cuban Missile Crisis, though Biden later stated he didn’t consider Putin would use a tactical nuclear weapon.

Putin has not talked about the usage of a tactical nuclear weapon, however stated he suspects Ukraine might detonate a “dirty bomb,” a declare Ukraine and the West consider are false.

The US B61 nuclear bomb was first examined in Nevada shortly after the Cuban Missile Crisis. Under Barack Obama, US President from 2009 to 2017, growth of a brand new model of the bomb, the B61-12, was accepted.

Russia’s Grushko stated Moscow should additionally think about the Lockheed Martin F-35 that will drop such a bomb. NATO, he stated, has already beefed up the nuclear components of its navy planning.

NATO “has already made decisions to strengthen the nuclear component in the alliance’s military plans,” Grushko stated.

Russia’s ambassador to Washington, Anatoly Antonov, instructed Telegram on Saturday that the brand new B61 bombs have “strategic importance” as a result of Russia’s tactical nuclear weapons are saved, however these US bombs are only a quick flight from Russia’s borders.

The B61-12 will substitute three different at present stocked variants of the B61, numbers 3, 4 and seven, in response to the US National Nuclear Security Administration in a factsheet final yr.

The United States will step up nuclear deterrence with the F-35, B61-12 bombs and a nuclear-armed air-launched cruise missile, in response to the US 2022 Nuclear Posture Review launched Thursday.

“These flexible, adaptable capabilities are key to ensuring that the Russian leadership does not miscalculate the consequences of nuclear use to any degree, thereby increasing its confidence in launching a conventional war against NATO and considering the use of non-strategic nuclear weapons in such reduces conflict,” reads the review.

Editing by Frances Kerry

Our requirements: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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