Home Europe Kremlin says NATO chief’s nuclear weapons remarks are an escalation

Kremlin says NATO chief’s nuclear weapons remarks are an escalation

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg

The Kremlin said on Monday that NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg’s remarks pertaining to talks on deploying more nuclear weapons, were an escalation.

NATO is in talks to deploy more nuclear weapons, taking them out of storage and placing them on standby, in the face of a growing threat from Russia and China, Stoltenberg told  Britain’s Telegraph newspaper.

Stoltenberg said that there were live consultations between members to use transparency around its nuclear arsenal as a deterrent. ” I won’t go into operational details about how many nuclear warheads should be operational and which should be stored, but we need to consult on these issues. That’s exactly what we are doing.”

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Stoltenberg’s comments appeared to contradict the communique of the Ukraine Conference that said any threat or use of nuclear weapons in the Ukraine context was inadmissible.

“This is nothing but another escalation of tension,” Peskov said of the Stoltenberg remarks.

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Russia says the United States and its European allies are driving the world to the brink of nuclear confrontation by giving Ukraine billions of dollars worth of weapons, some of which are being used against Russian territory.

Russia and the United States are by far the world’s biggest nuclear powers. They hold about 88% of the world’s nuclear weapons, according to the Federation of American Scientists.

The United States has about 100 non-strategic B61 nuclear weapons deployed in five European countries – Italy, Germany, Turkey, Belgium and the Netherlands, according to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. The U.S. has another 100 such weapons within its borders.

Russia has about 1,558 non-strategic nuclear warheads, though arms control experts say it is very difficult to say just how many there are due to secrecy.

(With Inputs From Reuters)