U.S. tactical nuclear weapons must be withdrawn from Europe - Russian Defense Ministry
Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov has called for withdrawal of U.S. tactical nuclear armaments from the territories of non-nuclear countries and dismantlement of the related infrastructure.
"As an expert on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) I have a question why nuclear armaments are deployed on the territories of non-nuclear countries. What is the nuclear weaponry control system of NATO states? In my opinion, this is a violation of Articles 1 and 2 of the NPT," the deputy minister told reporters on Wednesday.
Article 1 of the NPT prohibits nuclear powers to transfer nuclear armaments to non-nuclear countries or to entrust them with control over such weapons. Article 2 prohibits non-nuclear states to acquire and use nuclear weapons.
"How does the concept of joint use of nuclear weapons look in this context? NATO states refuse to discuss this issue under the pretext this is an internal affair of the alliance and deny their violation of the NPT provisions," the deputy minister said.
Tactical nuclear weapons deployed in NATO states in Europe may be rapidly relocated towards Russian borders, which actually makes them strategic, he said.
At the same time, Russia is incapable of rapid delivery of its non-strategic nuclear weapons to the U.S. territory and these weapons do not endanger U.S. security, Antonov noted.
"We think that the United States and, obviously, NATO countries must decide on the withdrawal of U.S. nuclear weapons to the U.S. territory. But this would not be enough. There is also military industrial and technological infrastructure in West European countries. We think this infrastructure should be destroyed," Antonov said.