All news

NATO risks provoking major conflict with Russia, says former Virginia senator

"From the start of Russia’s special operation, Russia has pointedly reminded NATO that it is a powerful nuclear power," Richard Black asserted

WASHINGTON, May 15. /TASS/. NATO countries risk provoking a major conflict with Russia, forgetting that they are dealing with a nuclear power, Republican Richard Black, a former member of the Senate of the General Assembly of the US state of Virginia, has told TASS.

According to Black, Russia's preparations for drills with the use of tactical nuclear weapons "were prompted by provocative statements by NATO." "President Macron repeatedly raised the possibility of sending French troops to Ukraine, and UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron said that Ukraine has a right to attack targets inside Russia if it wants to do so. Both of those measures move the world closer to World War III," said Black, a retired US Army Colonel.

"From the start of Russia’s special operation, Russia has pointedly reminded NATO that it is a powerful nuclear power. They did not do this to bluff or intimidate the West; it was simply a reminder of a cold reality that NATO seems to have forgotten," he asserted. In Black’s opinion, "the West is on the precipice of triggering World War III with a great nuclear power."

"Russia is concerned that the US and NATO will soon deliver nuclear-capable F-16 jets to Ukraine. About 100 B-61 tactical nuclear bombs are reportedly held by the US in Europe and Turkey. The Russian Foreign Ministry has warned NATO countries that Russia will consider any F-16 fighter in Ukraine to be a nuclear weapons carrier. President Putin said that while Russia does not intend to attack NATO, their air bases hosting F-16 jets could become legitimate targets," he pointed out. According to Black, deploying F-16 jets in Ukraine "is a genuine threat to Russia." "NATO must realize the danger involved in their deployment and act accordingly," he concluded.

On May 6, the Russian Defense Ministry launched preparations for drills of the Southern Military District’s missile troops together with aircraft and naval forces to practice employing non-strategic nuclear weapons. The military agency cited "provocative statements and threats by some Western officials against the Russian Federation" as the reason behind accelerated preparations.

Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed that the need to respond with these drills emerged following statements by Macron and Cameron. That said, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko also announced holding a joint military exercise with Russia with the use of tactical nuclear weapons.