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BRUSSELS, July 9 (Itar-Tass) - Russia has cut its arsenal of non-strategic nuclear weapons it inherited from the Soviet Union four times since 1991, Russia’s NATO envoy Alexander Grushko said in an interview with Itar-Tass on Tuesday.
He made his comments on NATO Secretary-General Andres Fogh Rasmussen, who said during a monthly press conference that “since the end of the Cold War NATO Allies that possess nuclear weapons have reduced the number of nuclear weapons significantly. We have not seen that reciprocated by the Russians.”
“We are a bit surprised with such a statement of the Secretary-General. I will recall that within the framework of the implementation of well-known presidential initiatives of 1991 Russia has cut its arsenal of non-strategic nuclear weapons it inherited from the Soviet Union four-times. It transferred them to a category of non-deployed weapons and amassed them at central storage depots. I would like to emphasize that the mentioned storage facilities are located within the national borders of the Russian Federation,” Grushko said.
He said Russia has repeatedly called on other nuclear powers “to follow suit and start resolving on a global scale the issue of returning all arsenals of non-strategic nuclear weapons to territories of those countries that possess them and also to fully liquidate external infrastructure facilities for their rapid deployment.”
“This would be a real contribution to strengthening security in the Euro-Atlantic Region,” he said.
“However, some European countries that are NATO members and by the way non-nuclear states under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons still deploy on their territory ready-to-go nuclear weapons. Moreover, the documents to the NATO summit in Chicago say NATO will remain a nuclear Alliance as long as nuclear weapons exist. Moreover, the so-called NATO policy on joint nuclear operations did not recede into the past,” Grushko said.
“We believe that without getting rid of these anachronisms of the Cold War there will be no serious talk on this problem,” he said.
In principle, Russia is open to discussing any themes related to stronger international security “under condition that the principle of equal and indivisible security for all is observed,” Grushko said.
“It is evident that in modern military-strategic realities the issues of further nuclear disarmament cannot be considered outside the context of other important factors that can affect strategic stability,” he said. “These are, first of all, unilateral steps towards creating a global missile defence system, plans for development of strategic, non-nuclear high-precision weapons, deployment of weapons in space as well as the situation with conventional arms. Moreover, the multiparty factor becomes increasingly important. It envisages that all countries having military nuclear potential should join the nuclear weapons reduction process,” Grushko said.
According to the open source information, currently, the U.S. tactical nuclear weapons, in particular, air bombs are stored at military bases in five non-nuclear member-states of NATO - Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Turkey and Italy.