MOSCOW, October 20. /TASS/. NATO’s Steadfast Noon nuclear deterrence exercise won’t contribute to stability on the European continent, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said at a briefing on Thursday.
"These maneuvers do not add stability to the current situation on the European continent. Against this background, the strong statements about the allegedly defensive nature of the alliance have been proven to be empty talk again," she maintained.
The Russian diplomat pointed to the non-nuclear status of the majority of the countries participating in the drills. "The United States has long been engaging these non-nuclear nations in using nuclear weapons in violation of the fundamental principles of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. While alleging that those are long-planned and regular exercises, the leaders of the alliance have been making attempts to blame this country for what they call `irresponsible nuclear rhetoric’," Zakharova stressed.
NATO’s Steadfast Noon nuclear deterrence exercise runs from September 17 to September 30 to check the alliance’s nuclear forces. This year, the exercise is headquartered at Belgium’s Kleine Brogel Air Base. According to a NATO press release, the maneuvers involve 14 countries and up to 60 aircraft of various types, and as in previous years, US B-52 long-range bombers will take part. They will simulate nuclear deterrence capacities above North-Western Europe, specifically, Belgium, Great Britain and the North Sea.