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NATO in talks to put more nuclear weapons on standby – Stoltenberg

The West must show to the world, including Russia and China, that it has a deterrent capability, the bloc’s chief has said

NATO members are debating putting more of their nuclear weapons on standby mode amid tensions with Russia and China, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has said.

In an interview with the Daily Telegraph on Sunday, Stoltenberg stated that NATO is in talks about taking nuclear assets out of storage and making them ready to use, since the US-led military bloc must clearly convey to the outside world that it has a strong deterrent potential.

”I won’t go into operational details about how many nuclear warheads should be operational and which should be stored, but we need to consult on these issues,” he said, adding that deliberations are already underway.

The NATO chief stressed that while the bloc’s ultimate goal is a world without nukes, “as long as nuclear weapons exist, we will remain a nuclear alliance, because a world where Russia, China and North Korea have nuclear weapons, and NATO does not, is a more dangerous world.”

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FILE PHOTO. A Russian nuclear-capable Iskander tactical ballistic missile.
Russia could consider changing nuclear doctrine

He voiced particular concern about what he called China’s growing nuclear capabilities, adding that NATO could soon face “something that it has never faced before, and that is two nuclear-powered potential adversaries” – Beijing and Moscow.

According to Stoltenberg, the US is also modernizing its nuclear gravity bombs deployed in Europe, and its allies on the continent are also upgrading the aircraft that carry them. This came after Pranay Vaddi, Special Assistant to the US President and Senior Director for Arms Control, said earlier this month that “absent a change in the trajectory of adversary arsenals,” the US would soon reach a point where it would have to increase the number of deployed nuclear weapons.

Western media and officials have repeatedly accused Russia of nuclear saber-rattling amid the Ukraine conflict. However, officials in Moscow have repeatedly said that they have no plans to use nukes against the neighboring country, stressing that the only scenario in which they might resort to a nuclear option is if Russia’s very existence is at stake.

At the same time, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov warned last week that Moscow could potentially alter its nuclear doctrine in view of a growing threat caused by “unacceptable and escalatory actions of the US and its NATO allies.”

June 17, 2024 at 01:25PM

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