RUSSIAN FM: US Deployment of Low-Yield Nuclear Warheads Dangerous, Lowers First-Use Threshold

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MOSCOW/WASHINTON, D.C. – The deployment of very low-yield nuclear warheads by the United States of America is a dangerous step that leads to destabilization, Russian Foreign Ministry’s official Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Wednesday.

“We noted the article, published by the US Department of State’s official website on April 24 and devoted to the issue of creating W76-2 low-yield nuclear warheads and deploy it on some of its Trident submarines,” she said, TASS reported.

“As we have already said many times, we view this as a dangerous step. We believe that it carries a certain element of destabilization,” Zakharova said.

Russian Foreign Ministry’s official Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova stressed that any attack with the use of US submarine-launched ballistic missiles, regardless of their characteristics, will be viewed by Russia as an attack with the use of nuclear weapons and, therefore, a basis for a retaliatory strike, in full force.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov earlier said the United States’ production of W76-2 missiles lowers the nuclear threshold and increases the risk of a nuclear conflict. According to US experts, the new missile has an explosive yield of 5-6 kilotons, which is of no strategic value for the US, but it does imply a possible tactical use of these weapons.

Russian officials, starting from Russian President Vladimir Putin himself, to virtually all spokespeople of various Russian institutions, have repeatedly reiterated that Russia has zero-tolerance for any use of nuclear weapons in an armed conflict and that it will respond to such moves with the full force of its arsenal of weapons of mass destruction, which has been the world’s largest since at least late 1970s or early 1980s.

The United States has been the most influential destabilizing force in the world since the collapse of the Soviet Union and is so far the only country in history to have used nuclear weapons in an actual war. Thus, concerns with such a country possessing very low-yield nuclear weapons are more than valid.

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