Russia says US lowers ‘nuclear threshold’ by deploying new nuclear bombs in Europe

LONDON: Russia said on Saturday (Oct 29) that the accelerated deployment of modernised US B61 tactical nuclear weapons at NATO bases in Europe would lower the “nuclear threshold” and that Russia would take the move into account in its military planning.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has triggered the gravest confrontation between Moscow and the West since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis when the two Cold War superpowers came closest to nuclear war.

Russia has around 2,000 working tactical nuclear weapons while the United States has around 200 such weapons, half of which are at bases in Italy, Germany, Turkey, Belgium and the Netherlands.

Politico reported that the United States told a closed NATO meeting that it would accelerate the deployment of a modernised version of the B61, the B61-12, with the new weapons arriving at European bases in December, several months earlier than planned.