200 American nukes said to be in Western Europe

The US administration is seriously concerned with Russia's failure to reduce tactical nuclear arms

Washington is seriously concerned that Russia has incompletely fulfilled its obligations to reduce tactical nuclear arms in Europe. The statement has been released by Stephen Rademaker, Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control, after the talks with the Russian specialists. The talks were devoted to issues of control over nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.

According to the American official, the European community is concerned about the large quantity of Russian tactical warheads in the region and about the countries, at which those nukes are aimed. Rademaker said that tactical nuclear arms of NATO countries do not raise so much concern for the US administration.

In 1991, the US president stated that the American tactical nuclear arms in Europe would be considerably reduced. US nukes were removed; their utilization was completed last year. Russian President Boris Yeltsin announced the reduction of nuclear arms at that time too. However, the US administration believes that Russia failed to stand by its commitments.

The high-ranking American official did not specify either the reason or the ground of such concerns. Stephen Rademaker did not say why US specialists suspect several Russian companies of providing assistance to Iran in the development of long-range missiles. According to Rademaker, it is highly dangerous: Iran presently possesses 2,000-kilometer distant missiles, which cannot reach the USA. However, Rademaker added, the range could be increased some day. The US administration believes that such missiles will be rather important for Iran, if they are capable of taking weapons of mass destruction to large distances. In addition, the US diplomat said, Iran supports terrorist movements in several Mideast states. The American administration is seriously concerned about a possibility for one of those terrorist groups to obtain nuclear weapons.

Rademaker's statements have probably been timed to the forthcoming visit of the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to Iran. The visit is scheduled for October 10-11. The talks will reportedly touch upon the issues of nuclear cooperation between Iran and Russia. Tehran has repeatedly stated that its nuclear program was solely peaceful. Spokespeople for the Russian Foreign Ministry did not comment Stephen Rademaker's statements.

As far as the tactical nuclear arms are concerned, one has to believe politicians, when they say that the arms have been reduced. Unlike strategic nuclear forces, which have been repeatedly calculated and inspected, the international community cannot control the tactical warheads. However, both Russia and Washington express their concerns on the issue from time to time. The American administration is basically worried about the deployment of nukes in Russia's Kaliningrad region, whereas Russia denies the nuclear presence in the region. In return, Russian officials remind Washington that there are 200 B-51 American nuclear air bombs in Western Europe. The US administration neither rejects their existence, nor does it say that the arsenal is useless from the military point of view.

Dmitry Litovkin

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Author`s name Olga Savka