MOSCOW, February 6. /TASS/. Pentagon’s allegations that Russia is lowering a threshold for the use of nuclear weapons are meant to have the Congress allocate 1.3 trillion US dollars to modernize its non-strategic arsenals, a Russian expert said on Tuesday commenting on the Nuclear Posture Review released by the US Department of Defense in early February.
"Motives behind this document are quite obvious: the US military seek to justify the sum of 1.2 trillion US dollars they request from the Congress in the next 30 years to modernize and develop their reduced nuclear arsenals," Lieutenant General Yevgeny Buzhinsky, a former chief of the Russian defense ministry’s international military cooperation directorate, told TASS.
"Recent Russian statements… appear to lower the threshold for Moscow’s first-use of nuclear weapons," the Review claims and sets a priority strategic task in "correcting" the "mistaken Russian perception" that "its greater number and variety of non-strategic nuclear systems provide a coercive advantage in crises and at lower levels of conflict." For these ends, it is suggested that low-yield warheads be deployed in ballistic missiles and return nuclear-armed sea-launched cruise missiles to its arsenal.
According to Buzhinsky, the United States needs tactical nuclear weapons "not to defend its national security and its territory but to use them at a distant theater of operations in the name of defending its interests or interests of its partners and allies."
Tactical nuclear weapons (warheads, air bombs, small-range missiles, torpedoes, mines, etc.) do not fall under the Russian-US New START treaty. Currently, the United States possesses about 500 B61 free-fall bombs of various modifications.