Russia threatens counter nuclear measures if U.S. goes ahead with its plan of stationing nuclear weapons in Germany. Moscow viewed the move as provocation and disruption of the supposed security balance in Europe. Spokesman for Russian Vladimir Putin, Dmitry Peskov, described Pentagon plan of deploying new nuclear weapons in Germany “a very serious step towards exacerbating tensions on the European continent.”
“Unfortunately, if this step is implemented — and we can say they are confidently advancing towards its implementation, it may disrupt the strategic balance in Europe and therefore will clearly make Russia take corresponding countermeasures to re-establish the balance,” Peskov said in a press briefing as reported by TASS. “It’s not a step towards strengthening stability, towards confidence building and enhancement of security in Europe,” he added. The counter measures to be taken by Russia will assure “national security and re-establishment of the strategic balance,” the official said.
According to a separate report from The Telegraph, Russia’s threat was made after Germany’s television broadcaster, ZDF, reported that U.S. has plans of replacing B61 bombs with the more advanced B61-12s. The latter can be fired as missiles unlike with the old variant which are dropped from aircraft. Russia’s biggest concern is that these advance versions are more of tactical than strategic in nature.
Tactical nuclear weapons are designed to be based on a battlefield in military situations. Many of the weapons during the Cold War era are tactical in nature. Strategic nuclear weapons, on the other hand, are designed to be use as a part of an overall military strategy aimed at weakening an enemy’s ability to attack.
An unnamed military source said that Moscow is now in the process of investigating whether such U.S. weapons deployed in Germany are tactical in nature. “The question is being considered. A final decision will be taken after detailed analysis of the potential threat from German Tornado fighter-bombers carrying new B-61-12 atomic bombs,” the source was quoted as saying by The Telegraph, citing Interfax, a Russian news website.
A related report from the Express said that Russia is also concern that U.S. is a NATO member. “These states actually have nuclear weapons as part of the framework of NATO’s nuclear sharing program,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, was quoted as saying.
Peskov has also expressed Russia’s concern over NATO’s advancement toward the Russian borders. Russia too threatens counter-measure if the West alliance proceed with its military activities near its borders.
“We must not forget that NATO is an organization that has been created during the time of confrontation and for confrontation, that’s why it cannot change its nature. That is why any advancement by such an organization toward our borders will force us to take adequate counter-measures to safeguard own security, our national security,” Peskov was quoted as saying by Sputnik International.
Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Norwegian Defense Minister, Ine Eriksen Søreide, reaffirmed the defense relationship between the two nations. Norway is bordered by Finland and Russia to the north-east.
According to Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook, the two leaders fortified the very close working relationship that the United States and Norway share within NATO. The two discussed increasing security challenges along NATO’s northern flank.