MOSCOW, October 23. /TASS/. Russia’s Defense Ministry said on Friday it told the German side that the country’s participation in NATO exercises where its army honed the skills of using US tactical nuclear weapons constitutes violation of the Nonproliferation Treaty, or NPT, and entails further growth of tension along the Russia-NATO contact line.
The ministry said it had summoned the German embassy’s defense attache earlier in the day. "The German defense attache was informed about the Russian Defense Ministry’s position concerning Germany’s participation in NATO’s Steadfast Noon and Resilient Guard exercises, during which elements of the use of US tactical nuclear weapons are drilled," the ministry said.
According to the ministry, the defense attache was told that involvement of personnel and dual-use aviation of non-nuclear NATO countries, such as Germany, in drilling scenarios of the use of nuclear weapons is a flagrant violation of the Nonproliferation Treaty. "Such actions entail lowering of the threshold of nuclear weapons use, provoke further growth of tensions along the Russia-NATO contact line and tell adversely on the level of trust in Europe," the ministry stressed.
The DPA agency reported on October 15 citing its sources that German soldiers along with NATO partners were taking part in Steadfast Noon drills at the Norvenich airbase in North Rhine-Westphalia. Along with other skills, soldiers practiced the use of aircraft capable of carrying nuclear weapons.
Concurrently, the Resilient Guard exercises were held in Buchel (Rhineland-Palatinate) to drill scenarios of defense actions that envisaged attacks by a potential enemy. According to unofficial data, up to 20 US nuclear warheads of the B61 type are still stored at the Buchel airbase as part of NATO’s strategic concept of nuclear deterrence.