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US plans for upgrading nuclear weapons in Germany alarm Russia — foreign ministry

September 22, 2015, 12:32 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Tactical US nuclear weapons remain operational in Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy and Turkey

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© AP Photo/Luca Bruno

MOSCOW, September 22. /TASS/. Russia finds worrisome Washington’s plans for upgrading US nuclear weapons in Germany and other European countries, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Maria Zakharova has told the German TV broadcaster ZDF in an interview.

Asked for the Russian government’s opinion of plans for upgrading US nuclear weapons in Germany Zahkarova replied: "We find such plans alarming."

She recalled that back in the 1990s Russia slashed its arsenal of non-strategic nuclear weapons 75%, changed their status to non-operational and stored them within its national territory.

"In the meantime, tactical US nuclear weapons remain operational in Europe, and not only in Germany, but also in Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy and Turkey. The Americans are upgrading their air bombs, and NATO’s European members, their nuclear-capable aircraft. This policy was confirmed at NATO’s summits in Chicago (2012) and Wales (in 2014)," Zakharova said.

NATO’s practice of nuclear sharing is also a concern for Russia.

"Exercises involving preparations and instruction in the use of nuclear weapons by the military of personnel of non-nuclear states are a direct violation of articles one and two of the NPT treaty. This abnormal situation has remained for more than 40 years, but it is not getting more acceptable," Zakharova said.

"For maintaining security and stability in Europe we believe it is necessary to return non-strategic nuclear weapons to the national territory, establish a ban on their deployment outside the national territory, eliminate the related infrastructures outside the national territory that allow for the prompt deployment of such weapons, and put an end to training and exercises related with matters of preparing and using nuclear weapons by the personnel of the armed forces that do not possess such weapons," Zakharova said.

Moscow considers presence of US nuclear weapons in Europe in military planning

According to Zakharova, the presence of non-strategic nuclear arsenals of the US on Europe’s territory is taken into consideration in Russia’s military planning.

"The presence of the US non-strategic nuclear arsenals in Europe is taken into account in our military planning," Zakharova said in an interview with Germany’s ZDF broadcasting company on Tuesday.

The buildup of NATO’s force potential and giving it global functions fulfilled in violation of the international law and moving NATO’s military infrastructure towards Russia’s borders poses a threat to Russia’s security, she added.

"We are mostly concerned about the creation and deployment of systems of strategic missile defence breaking the existing balance of powers in the missile-nuclear sphere and thus undermining the global stability," the diplomat said.

Zakharova also voiced concerns about the implementation of the global strike concept, plans to use weapons in space and also the deployment of strategic non-nuclear systems of precision weapons.

The diplomat reminded that all this has been included in Russia’s military doctrine unveiled in December 2014.

Russia is open for discussing any issues concerning strengthening international security, but considers the issue of non-strategic nuclear arsenals as a top priority, Zakharova said.

"We believe that in the sphere of control over weapons the focus should be on the issues linked to missile defence, the US unwillingness to support the idea of dropping plans of deploying weapons in space and the imbalance in the sphere of conventional armaments," she said.

In the sphere of reducing and limiting nuclear weapons, the main task at this stage should be the implementation of the Russian-US nuclear arms reduction treaty, Zakharova stressed.

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