The West takes Russian President Vladimir Putin’s nuclear threats seriously. But they do not intimidate the NATO Allies who must carry out a joint exercise of nuclear deterrence.
The Kremlin says it is ready to use ” all available means ” to protect Russian territories, in particular the four Ukrainian regions illegally annexed at the beginning of the month following fictitious referendums.
In Europe, the threat is considered ” serious ” by the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen.
” At the same time, as with any of (Vladimir Putin’s) words, we are not being blackmailed by what he says. We have a very clear position on how we want to proceed ,” explained the German official last week.
According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), Russia has 5,977 nuclear warheads , the highest number in the world. However, 1,500 nuclear warheads are awaiting dismantling.
1,588 weapons are deployed, which means that they have been placed on missiles or on bases where operational forces are located.
France and the United Kingdom are the only countries in Europe to possess nuclear weapons. Together, the two states have 515 warheads , of which 400 are deployed, according to SIPRI.
According to the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, the United States also has around 100 nuclear warheads stored in Europe at bases in Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey. . These weapons are part of the 5,428 nuclear warheads that the United States possesses, of which 3,708 are operational, the others must be dismantled.
NATO will proceed with its annual “Steadfast Noon” joint nuclear deterrence exercises next week despite Russian threats. Julianne Smith, US Ambassador to NATO , stresses that ” this is not a response to what is happening in Ukraine “.
” Nuclear deterrence is a key part of NATO’s defense and deterrence posture. Allies regularly carry out these types of exercises. And so, it’s not out of cycle .”
The diplomat adds that it is an exercise “ that NATO would do regardless of what is happening on the ground in Ukraine ”.