Russia has issued a stern warning to the U.S. amid reports that Washington was planning to deploy 20 B61-12 nuclear bombs at the Büchel Air Base in Germany later this year. Germany’s ZDF TV Channel reported Tuesday that the move was aimed at countering Russian aggression in the region. The new American nuclear weapons are four times more powerful than the one dropped at Hiroshima in 1945.
It would alter the balance of power in Europe
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Wednesday that such a maneuver could alter the balance of power in Europe. And Russia will be forced to take countermeasures to restore the balance of power in the region, he added. Putin claimed in July that the U.S. was gearing up to deploy nukes in Europe. Tensions between Russia and the U.S.-led alliance have worsened over the Ukraine crisis and the recent stand-off in Syria.
Hans Kristensen, the Director of the Nuclear Information Project, told the German TV channel that the new U.S. bombs would blur the boundaries between tactical and strategic weapons. It could significantly increase the risk of miscalculations and unintended conflicts with dire consequences. Russia has threatened in the past to go nuclear to drive NATO out of eastern Europe.
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Pentagon preparing for war with Russia
President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine said earlier this week that the country must join NATO to counter Russian aggression. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg offered “political and practical” support to Kiev, but declined to supply offensive weapons to help the country fight Russia-backed separatists. Russia has said it would aim its armed forces “at those territories from where the threat comes.”
Meanwhile, the Pentagon is re-evaluating its Cold War-era military plans amid deteriorating relations with Russia. Top U.S. military officials told the Foreign Policy magazine that the Defense Department was updating the contingency plans to respond to any potential Russian aggression against any NATO allies.