Nato Condemns Putin’s Nuclear ‘Sabre-rattling’
Nato has condemned Russia’s move to strengthen its nuclear arsenal, saying it amounted to “nuclear sabre-rattling”.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that Russia was concerned about an anti-missile defense system near its borders, after announcing that Russia would add more than 40 intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) to its nuclear arsenal this year.
We will be forced to aim our armed forces ... at those territories from where the threat comes.
– Vladimir Putin
Putin made his comments a day after Russian officials denounced a US plan to station tanks and heavy weapons in NATO member states on Russia’s border. Putin said it was the most aggressive act by Washington since the Cold War a generation ago.
US Secretary of State John Kerry expressed concern over Putin’s missile announcement and said no one wanted to see backsliding “to a kind of a Cold War status.”
Kerry told reporters at a news briefing that Putin’s stance could be posturing but he added, “Nobody should hear that kind of announcement from a leader of a powerful country and not be concerned about what the implications are.”
Tension has flared anew between Russia and Western powers over Moscow’s role in the Ukraine crisis, in which pro-Russian separatist forces have seized a large part of the country’s east after Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in early 2014.
The European Union and United States imposed economic sanctions on Russia. But Washington and Moscow are still bound by a 2010 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) that caps deployed strategic nuclear warheads at 1,550 each and limits the numbers of strategic nuclear missile launchers to 800 by 2018.
More than 40 new intercontinental ballistic missiles able to overcome even the most technically advanced anti-missile defence systems will be added to the make-up of the nuclear arsenal this year.
– Vladimir Putin
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