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MOSCOW, 5 March. /TASS/. Moscow on Thursday dismissed NATO’s allegations that Russia conducts large-scale military exercises to drill the use of nuclear weapons, the Foreign Ministry said.
"We’ve paid attention to NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow’s speech on March 2 at a conference in Doha (Qatar) on issues of arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation, in which he said that the conflict in Ukraine has a dimension associated with weapons of mass destruction," the ministry said in a commentary. "In particular, he made a dogmatic statement that Russia conducts large-scale military exercises to drill nuclear tasks, including the ‘nuclear component’ in the conventional weapons’ drills."
"We have again heard reproaches that Russia’s strategic aviation ostensibly performs flights closer and closer to the borders of NATO countries," the ministry said. "These allegations are totally ungrounded, and we have repeatedly proven this with facts to our foreign partners."
"Alexander Vershbow’s attempts to threated the world community with Russian nuclear weapons look inappropriate on the backdrop of NATO’s long-time practices to involve non-nuclear members of the bloc to performing ‘nuclear missions,’ i.e. to planning and drilling nuclear strikes, including delivering nuclear bombs to targets," the Russian Foreign Ministry said. "For these ends, American nuclear weapons are being stored in Europe and NATO servicemen are training their uses. The latest such exercises, Steadfast Noon, were held last autumn in Italy."
The Russian Foreign Ministry reminded that nuclear and non-nuclear members of the North Atlantic Alliance are signatories to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), article one of which prohibits nuclear countries to transfer nuclear weapons and control over such weapons to non-nuclear countries. Article two prohibits non-nuclear states to accept nuclear weapons or control over them from nuclear countries. "It means that NATO’s nuclear strategy, which provides for the possibility of using aviation of the alliance’s member countries enjoying a non-nuclear status to deliver U.S. nuclear bombs, runs counter to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons," the ministry stressed.
"NATO’s leadership should better straighten this contradiction rather than to lay the blame on Russia, which has no nuclear weapons on others’ territories and unlike the United States keeps its reduced stockpiles of non-strategic nuclear arms in a non-deployed state," the ministry underscored.