In a move that prompted fears of a return to a nuclear arms race in Europe, Moscow has announced that it could be forced to take “countermeasures” to a strengthened US nuclear threat in Germany by stationing ballistic missiles in Kaliningrad.
President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said US plans could “alter the balance of power in Europe”.
Germany’s ZDF television channel has reported that the US intended to place 20 upgraded B61-12 nuclear bombs at Büchel Air Base later this year. ZDF said its information was based on US federal budget reports.
Mr Peskov said: “It’s another, unfortunately very serious, step towards exacerbating tensions on the European continent. Unfortunately, if this step is implemented – and we can say they are confidently advancing towards its implementation – it may disrupt the strategic balance in Europe and therefore will make Russia take corresponding countermeasures to re-establish the balance. It’s not a step towards strengthening stability, towards confidence building and enhancement of security in Europe.”
Those plans would reportedly include placing Ikander missiles in the Russian enclave. “A final decision will be taken after detailed analysis of the potential threat,” a Russian source told the Interfax news agency.