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

  • Russia warns US about new B61
  • Pentagon: Modernization Long Planned
  • Russia says NATO is strengthening its nuclear program
  • Pentagon: B61 upgrade not linked to Ukraine
  • Russia: New bombs are strategically important

LONDON, Oct 29 (Reuters) – Russia said on Saturday that the rapid deployment of modernized U.S. B61 strategic nuclear weapons at NATO bases in Europe would lower the “nuclear threshold” and that Russia would take the move into account in its military planning.

Russia has about 2,000 operational strategic nuclear weapons while the United States has about 200 such weapons, half of which are at bases in Italy, Germany, Turkey, Belgium and the Netherlands.

During the Ukraine crisis, Politico reported On October 26, the United States told a closed NATO meeting this month that it would speed up the deployment of a modernized version of the B61, the B61-12, with the new weapons arriving at European bases in December, months ahead of schedule. .

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

The 12-foot B61-12 gravity bomb has a lower-yield nuclear warhead than many earlier versions but is more accurate and can penetrate underground. Research Published in 2014 by the Federation of American Scientists.

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

The Pentagon has said it would not discuss the details of the US nuclear arsenal, and the Politico article’s premise is incorrect because the United States had long planned to modernize its B61 nuclear weapons.

“Modernization of the US B61 nuclear arsenal has been underway for years, and the plan to safely and responsibly replace older weapons with upgraded versions of the B61-12 is part of a long-planned and planned modernization effort,” Pentagon spokesman Oscar Serra said.

“This is in no way connected to, and in no way precipitated by, current events in Ukraine,” Serra said in an emailed statement.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has sparked the most serious confrontation between Moscow and the West since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, when the two Cold War superpowers came close to nuclear war.

President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly said that Russia will defend its territory with all available means, including nuclear weapons, if attacked.

The comments sparked particular concern in the West after Moscow announced last month that it had annexed four Ukrainian regions that its forces controlled in parts. Putin says the West has engaged in nuclear blackmail against Russia.

‘Strategic Significance’

US President Joe Biden said on October 6 that Putin had brought the world closer to “Armageddon” since the Cuban Missile Crisis, but Biden later said he did not think Putin would use tactical nuclear weapons.

Putin has not mentioned the use of tactical nuclear weapons but has said Ukraine and the West are false that he suspects Ukraine could detonate a “dirty bomb”.

The US B61 nuclear bomb was first tested in Nevada shortly after the Cuban Missile Crisis. Barack Obama, who was the US president from 2009 to 2017, approved the development of a new version of the bomb, the B61-12.

Russia’s Grushko said that Moscow will also have to account for the Lockheed Martin F-35 bomb. He said, NATO has already strengthened the nuclear parts of its military planning.

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

Anatoly Antonov, Russia’s ambassador to Washington, said in a telegram on Saturday that the new B61 bombs have “strategic significance” because of Russia’s strategic nuclear arsenal, although the American bombs would be a short distance from Russia’s borders.

United States, accordingly US 2022 Separate Posture Review Unveiled Thursday, the F-35 will enhance nuclear deterrence with the B61-12 bomb and a nuclear-armed air-launched cruise missile.

Edited by Frances Carey and Helen Popper

Our Standards: Principles of Thomson Reuters Trust.

Source link

Leave a Comment