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Russia considers arming Baltic fleet

Aug 18, 2008
In cooperation with the Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and BNS

Russia considers arming Baltic fleet
Photo: Mykola Madyar

LONDON- Russia is considering arming its Baltic fleet with nuclear warheads for the first time since the cold war, warned senior military sources late August 17.

The Sunday Times wrote that under the Russian plans, nuclear warheads could be supplied to submarines, cruisers and fighter bombers of the Baltic fleet based in Kaliningrad.


A senior military source in Moscow said the fleet had suffered from insufficient funds since the collapse of communism.


"That will change now," said the source. "In view of America's determination to set up a missile defense shield in Europe, the military is reviewing all its plans to give Washington an adequate response."


The proposal to bring back nuclear warheads was condemned by Kurt Volker, the US ambassador to NATO, who said he knew of the threat.


The warnings came 24 hours after Russia told Poland that it could face a nuclear strike for agreeing to let the United States station components of the missile defense shield on its soil.


The Lithuanian Foreign Ministry finds this plan completely unacceptable.

"This could be viewed as Russia's harsh pressure against sovereign neighboring states, which it would still prefer to consider its zone of influence," the Foreign Ministry said in a press release.


The Sunday Times cited an unnamed Russian officer as saying that Russia was for the first time after the end of the cold war considering the possibility of deploying arms with nuclear warheads in its Baltic Fleet in the Kaliningrad region.


Russia has informed Poland that its permit for the US deployment of missile defense elements in its territory could lead to a threat of nuclear attack.


Russia has also mentioned that the nuclear missiles in its bases in Kaliningrad and Belarus could be targeted at Western Europe, pledging to consider the possibility of again dispatching troops to Cuba.


US envoy to NATO Kurt Walker has criticized the plans of supplying nuclear weapons to the Russian Baltic Fleet.

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