Russia’s nuclear threats are becoming more and more aggressive, according to US Government officials. A senior official with the Pentagon is accusing Russia of “playing with fire” for threatening to use nuclear weapons as a means of combat for global incidents. The official also claims that Russia is flexing it’s muscle against NATO – and the US and it’s allies are not pleased.
According to The Independent UK :
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Robert Work, the US Deputy Secretary of Defence, told a House Armed Services subcommittee that Russia was trying to control the escalation of tensions by invoking the threat of nuclear weapons.
He said: “Anyone who thinks they can control escalation through the use of nuclear weapons is literally playing with fire.”
“Escalation is escalation, and nuclear use would be the ultimate escalation.”
The Kremlin has not made any direct nuclear threats, and Work did not specify and particular comments. However, numerous references to Russia’s nuclear arsenal in the last few months by Russian officials have increased tensions between East and West.
In April, leaked notes from a meeting between US officials and Russian generals revealed that Russia mentioned “a spectrum of responses from nuclear to non-military” if Nato moved more forces into the Baltic states.
In a documentary about the annexation of Crimea aired on Russian TV, President Vladimir Putin was asked by the interviewer if he was prepared to put Russia’s nuclear forces on alert. He said: “We were ready to do it.”
In March, the Russian ambassador to Denmark warned that “Danish warships would be targets for Russia’s nuclear weapons” if the country joined Nato’s missile defence programme.
Threats and posturing aside, Russia has taken steps to beef up its nuclear arsenal – speaking at a military expo earlier this month, Putin announced the development of 40 new intercontinental ballistic missiles, that would be able to overcome “even the most technically advanced anti-missile defence systems”.
The new missiles are not themselves nuclear weapons, but are nuclear-capable, as they will allow Russia to more easily deliver their stockpile of around 3,000 warheads.
In his speech, Work was defiant in the face of the Russian nuclear arsenal.
He said: “Senior Russian officials continue to make irresponsible statements regarding its nuclear forces, and we assess that they are doing it to intimidate our allies and us.”
“These have failed. If anything, they have really strengthened the Nato alliance solidarity.”
Nato has accused Russia of ‘sabre rattling’ in recent months, but the alliance have themselves been increasing their military presence in Eastern Europe.
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