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‘Unlimited’ US approach to use of nuclear weapons alarming — Foreign Ministry

MOSCOW, February 3. /TASS/. Washington’s new stance on nuclear weapons employment causes concern, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a commentary on Saturday following the release of the US’ Nuclear Posture Review on February 2.

"Washington’s de facto ‘unlimited’ approach to the use of nuclear weapons is alarming: they declare a possibility of the employment of nuclear weapons ‘in extreme circumstances’ which authors of the doctrine do not limit to merely military scenarios," the commentary said. "Moreover, the notion of military scenarios is so blurred that the American ‘planners’ might be enabled to view nearly any use of military force as the pretext for delivering a nuclear strike against those they believe ‘aggressors’."

Russia’s Foreign Ministry pointed out that "plans for profound modernization of the US nuclear forces have been announced" in the wake of these messages.

"Projects to develop a ‘smaller-yield’ nuclear-armed sea-launched cruise missile and smaller-yield nuclear warheads for Trident strategic submarines pose a particular threat. Nuclear weapons with such capabilities have been evidently designated as ‘battlefield weapons’," the ministry underscored.

"The temptation to use them, especially coupled with the doctrinally reserved right to a preemptive nuclear strike, is increasing dramatically," the commentary says. "Assurances that implementation of the above mentioned plans will ‘raise the nuclear threshold’ can be nothing but an aspiration to mislead the world."

The Russian Foreign Ministry says that more danger lies in "the faith, appearing on the pages of the nuclear doctrine, of US defense officials and other national security experts in their ability to accurately model the development of conflicts, in which they consider the use of ‘small-yield’ nuclear weapons is possible."

"Quite an opposite idea is obvious to us. Substantially lowered ‘threshold conditions’ are likely to trigger a nuclear-missile war even amid low-intensity conflicts," the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

On Friday, the Pentagon released an updated Nuclear Posture Review, the sweeping review of the United States’ nuclear arms policy. In particular, it says that the US "has formal extended deterrence commitments that assure" more than 30 allies. On 27 January 2017, US President Donald Trump issued an order to update the US nuclear policies. The previous doctrine was approved in 2010 by then President Barack Obama. The Pentagon said that nuclear weapons are likely to be employed in case of attack on the United States "that may not come in the form of nuclear weapons.".