All news

Production of W76-2 warhead in US increases risk of nuclear conflict, warns Lavrov

Russia’s proposal to resume strategic stability dialogue with the US remains on the table, the top diplomat stressed
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov  Sergei Bobylev/TASS
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov
© Sergei Bobylev/TASS

MOSCOW, January 30. /TASS/. Production of the W76-2 warhead in the United States lowers the threshold of using nuclear weapons and increases the risk of a nuclear conflict, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told a news conference in Moscow on Wednesday.

"This issue was already included in last year’s review of Washington’s policies in the nuclear sphere. Already then we expressed serious concern the development of such low-yield warheads lowers the threshold of using nuclear weapons and increases the risk of a nuclear conflict," he said.

"As far as we can see, that provision has now been translated into the language of practical action. Certainly, this by no means promotes security in the modern world," Lavrov said.

He pointed out that Russia was expecting a response from the European countries to the production of the nuclear warhead in the United States.

"Europe intentionally or unintentionally supported or connived with previous unilateral actions by the United States. What I have in mind is the United States’ unilateral pullout from the anti-ballistic missile treaty and the beginning of the deployment of a global US missile defense, including its NATO component in Europe. The same applies to the United States’ destruction of the INF Treaty, which happened with actual support from the North Atlantic Alliance," Lavrov said.

He recalled that Russia’s proposal for resuming the dialogue with the United States over strategic stability "remains on the table, but regrettably the negotiations have not begun yet."

Earlier, Defense News magazine quoted officials at the National Nuclear Security Administration under the US Department of Energy as saying the United States had launched the production of low-yield nuclear warheads W76-2. The first batch of the warheads will be delivered to the Navy by the end of the Fiscal Year 2019, Defense News said. According to US experts, the new warhead has a yield of 5-6 kilotonnes, in contrast to the 100-kilotonne warhead W76-1, created back in the 1970s.