Shelley Laver, deputy director of public affairs of the National Nuclear Security Administration, said the reports indicating that the United States would deploy nuclear warheads in Europe by the end of this year are inaccurate.
According to Laver, Washington’s plan for the large-scale production of B61-12 will start not until the fiscal year 2020.
Germany’s ZDF public television network recently reported that the United States plans to deploy new atomic weapons and 20 nuclear bombs in Germany. The report indicated that Washington intends to retrofit German Tornado fighter aircrafts with 20 B61-12 nuclear bombs.
The United States Air Force and National Security Administration previously tested a B61-12 gravity bomb in Nevada, according to Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov. He called the test “irresponsible, and “openly provocative.” He also said that it was a confirmation of Washington’s plan to maintain a nuclear arsenal in Europe capable of striking Russia.
Hans Kristensen, the Director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists, was quoted saying, “With the new bombs the boundaries blur between tactical and strategic nuclear weapons.”
A related report from German Economic News indicated that Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel seems supportive of the United States’ plan to increase its German-based nuclear arsenal against Russia. The news agency noted that Merkel did nothing about the decision of Bundestag in 2009 that the U.S. should withdraw its nuclear weapons from Germany— the will of most Germans.
Nuclear Weapons – Russia to take counter-steps in response to United States plan
Dmitry Peskov, the spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, commented that United States’ plan to station additional nuclear weapons in Germany would destroy the strategic balance of forces in Europe. He added that Russia would be forced to react.
Peskov said, “It would definitely cause Russia to take corresponding counter-steps and counter-measures in order to restore the strategic balance and parity” in Europe.
Additionally, Peskov said the United States is, unfortunately, taking another serious step towards increasing the tension in the European continent. He said, “Such actions cannot be described as a step towards stronger trust and greater stability.”
The Russian government is evaluating the details of the plans of the United States to deploy nuclear bombs in Germany. Russia may decide to bring its newest Iskander-M tactical nuclear weapons to Kaliningrad if a valid threat exists, according Interfax news agency citing an unidentified source from military-diplomatic circles.
United States’ plan violates Treaty of Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons
Separately, Mari Zakharova, the spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry emphasized that the plan of the United States is “an infringement of Articles 1 and 2 of the Treaty of Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.”
Russia has been accused of violating the same treaty. Zakharova emphasized that Russia already reduced the number of its tactical nuclear weapons since the 1990s. The Russian government also called for an international treaty, which would allow nuclear power nations to maintain nuclear weapons only on their territory.