Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov has called on Washington to return the nuclear weapons that it deployed to other countries back to the US.
"In these times of tensions and increased risks, nuclear states have a special responsibility to prevent escalation. That said, I once again call on Washington to return all the nuclear weapons deployed overseas back to its national territory, eliminate overseas infrastructure for their storage and maintenance, and to abandon the practice of simulating the use of such weapons involving troops from non-nuclear countries as part of NATO's 'joint nuclear missions', which run counter to the basic principles of the Non-Proliferation Treaty," the envoy said, commenting on a Politico article saying that the US would speed up plans to store upgraded B61-12 air-dropped gravity bombs in Europe.
"Administration officials traditionally refer to these weapons as tactical ones and argue that Russia's arsenal of similar weapons is several times larger than the US one. However, they don't reveal the fact that all our tactical nuclear weapons are stored in centralized facilities in Russia and cannot pose a threat to the United States," Antonov emphasized. "As for US air-dropped bombs, they are deployed to European countries with short flight times to Russia's border. This is why B61-12 bombs have strategic importance despite their limited capacity," he noted.
"Moreover, the US Armed Forces, together with NATO partners, regularly hold drills practicing the use of these weapons. Such training is currently taking place as part of the Steadfast Noon exercise. The North Atlantic alliance's leadership claims that the activity is not targeted against Russia. The question is then who is it that the alliance is practicing using nuclear weapons against if it is our country that is described as the 'most significant and direct threat' to security in its strategic concept?" the Russian ambassador added.