US speeds up plans to deploy upgraded B61-12 nukes in Europe – media reports
Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin (Photo:REUTERS/Yves Herman)
The United States has accelerated the fielding of a more accurate version of its mainstay nuclear bomb to NATO bases in Europe amid Russian dictator Vladimir Putin’s threats to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine, U.S. newspaper Politico reported on Oct. 26
The newspaper referred to a U.S. diplomatic cable and two people familiar with the issue.
According to the newspaper, the arrival of the upgraded B61-12 air-dropped gravity bomb, originally slated for next spring, is now planned for this December.
Asked for comment, Pentagon spokesman Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder responded via email that “while we aren’t going to discuss details of our nuclear arsenal, modernization of U.S. B61 nuclear weapons has been underway for years and plans to safely and responsibly swap out older weapons for the upgraded B61-12 versions is part of a long-planned and scheduled modernization effort.”
“It is in no way linked to current events in Ukraine and was not sped up in any way,” he said.
Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, after announcing mobilization in Russia on Sept. 21, once again threatened Western countries with the use of nuclear weapons, saying “this is not a bluff.”
Earlier, Ukrainian intelligence said that Kyiv considers the threat of Russia using tactical nuclear weapons against Ukraine to be “very high.”
At the same time, according to the head of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, Kyrylo Budanov, Russia is not expected to launch a nuclear strike in the near future.
Meanwhile, the United States has said use of nuclear weapons by Russia against Ukraine will produce a decisive response from Washington and its allies. At the same time, U.S. President Joe Biden has said he doesn’t think Putin will use nuclear weapons.
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