Global Security Newswire
Daily News on Nuclear, Biological & Chemical Weapons, Terrorism and Related Issues
Lithuania Says Russia Fielding Nukes Close to Border
Lithuania yesterday accused Russia of fielding tactical nuclear weapons in the Kaliningrad region near the border dividing the two nations, Agence France-Presse reported (see GSN, Nov. 30, 2010).
"We want major nations to start negotiations on reducing the number of such weapons. It's no secret that such weapons are deployed near us, in Kaliningrad. And to our east as well," Defense Minister Rasa Jukneviciene asserted on public radio.
There has been continuing speculation that Russia has deployed short-range nuclear weapons in its Kaliningrad territory, which is situated between the Baltic Sea and NATO members Lithuania and Poland. Late last year, Moscow rejected U.S. news reports that sometime in 2010 it had redeployed battlefield nuclear arms in Kaliningrad, which would have contravened promises dating back to 1991.
Russia is thought to possess some 2,000 deployed battlefield nuclear arms within its borders, compared to the estimated 200 tactical weapons the United States is thought to have fielded in five NATO states.
The Obama administration said it hopes to begin talks on drawing down tactical arms deployments within a year of last Saturday's entry into force of the U.S.-Russian New START strategic nuclear arms control pact. However, the Kremlin has indicated it would not consider such negotiations if missile defense and other issues are not also put on the agenda (see GSN, Feb. 8).
"It's in our interest that so many arms -- including tactical nuclear weapons which present a threat to our existence -- are not amassed all round our borders," Jukneviciene said (Agence France-Presse/Spacewar.com, Feb. 8).
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