The statement comes in the wake of a media report, saying that the US is planning to spend approximately $214 million on upgrading and building military structures and installations on its air bases in Eastern Europe, Norway and Iceland as part of a “deterrence” initiative against Russia.
The Russian Foreign Ministry has called on the United States to withdraw nuclear weapons from European territory.
“Russia returned all its nuclear weapons to its national territory. We believe that the same should have been done by the American side a long time ago,” Mikhail Ulyanov, director of the Department for Nonproliferation and Arms Control at the Russian Foreign Ministry, told Sputnik.
However, according to him, Washington “continues to keep, according to estimates, up to two hundred aviation bombs in Europe.”
“And they plan to modernize them in such a way that they become, according to a number of retired US military, ‘more suitable for use’ due to increased accuracy and reduction of destructive power. If it really is meant to place an additional number of nuclear warheads in Europe beyond what is available, this can only aggravate the situation,” Ulyanov said.
Moscow’s statement comes in the wake of a report by the Air Force Times newspaper, saying that the US is planning to spend approximately $214 million on upgrading and building military structures and installations on its air bases in Eastern Europe, Norway and Iceland as part of the so-called European Deterrence Initiative (EDI).
While the EDI, formerly known as the European Reassurance Initiative initiated under the pretext of the Ukrainian crisis that erupted in 2014, which specifically implies the deployment of 3,000-5,000 NATO soldiers and equipment to European countries along Russia’s borders to “deter” Moscow, the Russian Foreign Ministry has repeatedly criticized the alliance’s buildup in eastern Europe, saying that it was provocative and could lead to regional and global destabilization.
In 2016, NATO decided to approve sending four multinational battalions to each of the Baltic states — namely Lithгania, Latvia and Estonia — and Poland.
Most recently, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that the alliance would maintain increased presence in the Baltic states and Eastern Europe “as long as necessary ” after the alliance’s members had agreed on instituting a new adaptive command structure to improve the alliance’s ability “to improve the movement of military forces across Europe.”