Crimea Could Soon Have Russian Nuclear Weapons
Because the Crimean Peninsula is now a part of Russian territory, it won’t be long before a nuclear weapon gets deployed in the area, Mikhail Ulyanov, Director of the Department for Non-Proliferation and Arms control at the Russian Foreign Ministry, said. He reiterated such deployment that does breach any international law.
The Russian Defense Ministry earlier announced it plans to deploy 10 Tu-22M3 (Flanker) long-range aircraft in Crimea. Although the ministry didn’t say it would arm the weapons with nuclear warheads, Sputnik News reports these are very much capable of delivering them. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin said the plan will have Russia violate the international Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), an agreement that bars non-nuclear states from attaining nuclear weapons.
“Russia obviously retains the right if needed to deploy its nuclear weapons anywhere on its national territory, including on the Crimean Peninsula,” Ulyanov said in an interview with Russian news media. The United Nations still recognize Crimea as part of the Ukrainian territory, thus a non-nuclear state based under the NPT. Russia is one of five nuclear states under the NPT, along with the U.S., Britain, France and China. They are the only nations allowed by the agreement to field nuclear weapons anywhere in its territory.
But because Russia annexed Crimea in March 2014, it claimed the territory is now part of its sovereign state. State-run RIA Novosti news agency said the 10 Tu-22M3 nuclear-capable bombers will be outfitted with conventional weapons, rather than nuclear cruise missiles.
Ulyanov likewise said if there was any nation that breached the NPT, that would have been the United States. The latter has deployed its nuclear weapons in Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Turkey.
“U.S. nuclear weapons are already deployed. Following the Ukrainian minister’s logic, this is a direct breach of non-nuclear status of these European nations.”