ST. PETERSBURG, April 4. /TASS/. NATO countries are enhancing the nuclear component of their military drills, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko said on Thursday.
"NATO countries are enhancing the nuclear component of the drills held both by the Alliance as a whole and by its individual members," he said in response to a TASS question. "In particular, NATO military exercises involve US strategic bombers, which conduct flights in areas that are sensitive for Russia’s security interests," the senior diplomat added.
Grushko pointed out that the US Air Force’s B-52 bombers carried out flights over the Baltic Sea several days ago. "The number of drills involving nuclear weapons has been increasing. We can see the nuclear rhetoric growing louder," the Russian deputy foreign minister emphasized. "As usual, they are doing it, citing the so-called Russian threat and allegations that say Russia is lowering the nuclear threshold," he noted.
US and its conventional armaments
The United States is developing conventional armaments capable of performing nuclear weapon functions, Alexander Grushko stated.
"The US updated nuclear and military strategies that maximally erode a boundary between the scenarios, in which nuclear weapons can and cannot be used, are reducing the threshold of employing nuclear weapons," Grushko said.
The high-ranking diplomat thus commented on a question from TASS about the pronouncements by the NATO secretary general on the lowering of the threshold of using nuclear weapons due to the alleged Russian missiles’ threat in Europe.
"We see that the United States is starting to develop a whole class of armaments capable of performing nuclear weapon functions with conventional capabilities. This also refers to the modernization of free-fall bombs deployed in Europe by increasing their accuracy and reducing their yield, i.e. turning them into a weapon of the theater of military operations rather than a retaliatory weapon," the senior Russian diplomat said.