On Tuesday we noted - with some alarm - that the US is set to deliver 20 new nuclear bombs to Germany, each of which has four times the destructive power of the one that was dropped on Hiroshima.
For his part, Hans Kristensen, Director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists, said the move blurs the line between tactical and strategic nuclear weapons,” while one member of Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats warned that the “new attack options against Russia” constitute “a conscious provocation of [Germany’s] Russian neighbors.”
Of course, as we’ve documented extensively of late, NATO has never really been shy when it comes to “conscious provocations” of the Russians and that goes double in the wake of Moscow’s annexation of Crimea and subsequent support for the separatist movement in eastern Ukraine.
Still, war games are one thing, but nuclear escalations are entirely another and if ever there were a time when nuclear sabre rattling could prove especially dangerous it’s now, as the US and Russia are one “accident” away from open war in Syria.
Russia’s foreign ministry immediately condemned the delivery of the bombs to Germany, as spokeswoman Maria Zakharova (who's known for amusingly accurate depictions of US foreign policy) warned that the move represents an “infringement of Articles 1 and 2 of the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.”
Well sure enough, The Kremlin is now hitting back. Here’s Reuters:
Russia may deploy Iskander ballistic missiles to its enclave of Kaliningrad if the United States upgrades its nuclear weapons in Germany, the Interfax news agency cited a military source as saying on Wednesday.
"A final decision well be taken after detailed analysis of the potential threat," the agency cited the source as saying.
What's an Iskander, you ask? Well, here's a helpful description from The Moscow Times:
The Iskander missile system is one of the most deadly weapons in the Russian arsenal. First fielded in the 1990s, the Iskander is a high-precision tactical ballistic missile system optimized for use at close ranges — under 500 kilometers.
Iskander missiles are capable of being loaded with nuclear warheads.
And here's an Iskander in action courtesy of RT:
We suppose this means the Pentagon may need to speed up its efforts to modernize US plans for a battle in the Baltics.
We'll close with the following from Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov discussing the possible US shipment to Germany:
“This is yet another step and, unfortunately a very serious step toward antagonizing the tenseness on the European continent. Unfortunately, if these plans come to light, with taking into consideration [Germany’s] Bundestag’s decision and so forth, one could say that they are steadfastly heading to establishing this. Of course, this may lead to a strategic imbalance in Europe and, therefore, naturally this will make Russia take according steps and countermeasures to establish parity because, naturally, this is not a step toward boosting stability, increasing trust, or providing security in Europe."
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