Russia said on Saturday that the accelerated deployment of upgraded US B61 tactical nuclear weapons to NATO bases in Europe would lower the “nuclear threshold” and that Moscow should take this into account in its military planning.
Towards a new face for the distribution of nuclear weapons in Europe? The Russian army has about 2,000 operational tactical nuclear weapons, compared to about 200 for the United States, half of which are stationed on bases in Italy, Germany, Turkey, Belgium and the Netherlands.
Politico reported that the United States said in a closed NATO meeting that it would accelerate the deployment of a modernized version of the B61 nuclear bomb, the B61-12, which will arrive in December on the European bases concerned, i.e. several months ahead of the initial schedule.
“We cannot ignore plans to modernize nuclear weapons, those classic bombs that are in Europe,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko told the RIA news agency.
“They lower the nuclear threshold”
The B61-12 bomb is equipped with a lower-power nuclear warhead than some earlier versions of this weapon but is more accurate and can penetrate underground, according to studies 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 turn them into battlefield weaponsso they lower the nuclear threshold,” said Alexander Grouchko.