MOSCOW, May 15. /TASS/. There are no objective reasons to keep tactical nuclear arms in Europe, Russia’s Permanent Representative at NATO Alexander Grushko said on Friday.
"I am speaking about the practice of the so-called nuclear mission of NATO member countries. This problem is not new. It came into being even before the signing of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) in 1968," he said. "The matter is that US non-strategic nuclear arms are still deployed in the territories of non-nuclear members of the alliance, for instance, in Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey."
"However a number of non-nuclear NATO states have airborne vehicles, planes capable of carrying nuclear weapons," the Russian diplomat noted. "It is categorically forbidden by the NPT treaty. Its article 1 bans nuclear countries to hand over control over nuclear arms or other nuclear explosive devices to anyone, directly or indirectly."
"Now, the partners are pretending to be hearing about this problem from us for the first time. It is absolutely wrong," he underscored. "It is a systemic problem impacting the implementation of the NPT treaty."
"Up till now, Europeans allocate their territories to deploy such nuclear arms, undertake to give specially equipped planes with specially trained crews to deliver such weapons should a conflict erupt, take part in NATO’s collective exercises to drill nuclear weapons handling skills," Grushko said.
"As of today, there are no objective reasons to keep tactical nuclear weapons in Europe," he stressed. "The mere presence of US nuclear arms in Europe is a destabilizing factor."
Moscow is confidents that "an essential condition for maintaining strategic stability, for placing nuclear weapons under control and continuing their reduction is returning to the basic notions of the NPT treaty," the Russian diplomat said. "And, for example, withdrawing all nuclear arms in national territories, as Russia did. The United States must pull out these nuclear bombs to its territory. IT would be a serious contribution to strategic stability and security in Europe."