The US does not intend to withdraw tactical nuclear weapons located in a number of European countries. The new nuclear doctrine spanning the next decade will most likely not touch upon this issue, reports Inside Defense.
According to the newspaper, the report on the state of nuclear weapons prepared by Obama’s administration will not discuss the issue of American tactical nuclear weapons located in Europe. This is due to the fact that officials are planning to discuss the issue of appropriateness of keeping weapons in NATO channels this year.
Last week, Russia’s Vice Premier Sergei Ivanov stated at the security conference in Munich that Russia was expecting the US to explain the purpose of locating nuclear weapons in Europe.
Tactical nuclear weapons ( TNW) include land-based missile, anti-submarine and anti-ship missiles, nuclear mines, and air bombs. The number of both Russian and American tactical nuclear weapons is kept secret, since it is not governed by the Strategic Nuclear Weapons agreement.
Meanwhile, 200 American nuclear bombs stored in Europe are considered strategic weapons by Russia taking into account the possible speed of their delivery to the Russian border. US military doctrine does not rule out using weapons with low nuclear yield in battles.
According to the report published in November 2009 in Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, US still stores “approximately 200 nuclear bombs B-61” at six airbases in five countries. They include Belgium (Limburg), Germany (Rheinland-Palatinate), Italy (Friuli -Venezia Giulia, Lombardy), the Netherlands (Northern Brabant) and Turkey (Incirlik airbase).
A group of influential American experts and representatives of pro-disarmament organizations appealed to Obama asking him to pay closer attention to the TNW issue. They stated in their letter to the White House that locating nuclear weapons on the territory of other countries is not significant for the purposes of safety of NATO allies.
They asked the officials to consult not only NATO but Russia as well with regard to this issue, including negotiations related to weapons control. The experts also recommended concentrating the weapons at two airbases in Europe as the first step.
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