Russia slams US arguments for low-yield nukes

The Russian Foreign Ministry has rejected US arguments for fielding low-yield nuclear warheads, warning that an attempt to use such weapons against Russia would trigger an all-out nuclear retaliation.

The US State Department argued in a paper released last week that fitting the low-yield nuclear warheads to submarine-launched ballistic missiles would help counter potential new threats from Russia and China. It charged that Moscow in particular was pondering the use of non-strategic nuclear weapons as a way of coercion in a limited conflict — an assertion that Russia has repeatedly denied.

The State Department noted that the new supplemental warhead “reduces the risk of nuclear war by reinforcing extended deterrence and assurance.”

The Russian Foreign Ministry sees it otherwise.

The ministry’s spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, comments on the State Department’s paper at a briefing on Wednesday, emphasizing that the US shouldn’t view its new low-yield warheads as a flexible tool that could help avert an all-out nuclear conflict with Russia.

“Any attack involving a US submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), regardless of its weapon specifications, would be perceived as a nuclear aggression,” Zakharova says. “Those who like to theorize about the flexibility of American nuclear potential must understand that in line with the Russian military doctrine such actions are seen as warranting retaliatory use of nuclear weapons by Russia.”

— AP

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