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NATO Finds No Need to Change Nuclear Alert Level

© AP Photo / Cliff SchiappaA B-2 stealth bomber taxis at Whiteman Air Force Base in Knob Noster, Mo.
A B-2 stealth bomber taxis at Whiteman Air Force Base in Knob Noster, Mo. - Sputnik International, 1920, 01.03.2022
Russia put its nuclear forces on heightened alert on Sunday, citing “aggressive statements” coming from NATO over the Ukraine crisis. The status was put into effect after UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said that if the fighting in the Eastern European country was not stopped, there could be “a conflict” between Russia and the Western alliance.
NATO sees no need to change its nuclear alert posture at this stage, alliance chief Jens Stoltenberg has said.
“We will always do what is needed to protect and defend our allies, but we don’t think there is any need now to change the alert levels of NATO’s nuclear forces,” Stoltenberg said, speaking to the AP following talks with Polish President Andrzej Duda at an airbase in central Poland on Tuesday.
Accusing Russia of speaking in a “reckless and irresponsible” way about nuclear weapons, Stoltenberg said that Moscow had signed a number of agreements with the US and other world powers stating its agreement that a nuclear war cannot be won and shouldn’t be fought.
Stoltenberg’s comments follow remarks by the White House on Monday that the US would not be changing its nuclear alert levels.
Russia’s ground, air, and submarine-based nuclear deterrent forces were put on heightened standby alert duty with reinforced personnel on Monday. President Putin ordered the heightened alert status on Sunday, citing “aggressive statements” from NATO related to the Russian military operation in Ukraine.
Along with UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss’s comments Sunday about needing to “stop” Russia and the danger of a direct Russia-NATO conflict, the Western bloc issued a communique Friday warning Moscow that “the world” would hold it “to account” over its military operation in Ukraine.
On Tuesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that the presence of US nuclear weapons in Europe was “unacceptable” to Moscow, and in contravention of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, to which Washington is a party. “It is high time the US nuclear weapons are returned home, and the infrastructure in Europe related to them completely dismantled,” he said.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov   - Sputnik International, 1920, 01.03.2022
Lavrov: US Nuclear Weapons in Europe are Unacceptable for Russia, Time to Return Them Home
Russia’s nuclear doctrine allows for such weapons’ use only in the event of an enemy nuclear attack, or an act of conventional aggression so serious that it threatens the existence of the Russian state. By contrast, the US nuclear doctrine authorizes the deployment of nuclear weapons in wartime preemptively and even against non-nuclear armed adversaries. The Biden administration committed to review the nuclear strategy last year, but has yet to act on these promises.
The United States unilaterally walked out of two major treaties with Russia aimed at maintaining global strategic stability, quitting the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2002 and scrapping the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty in 2019. The Trump administration also threatened to let the clock run out on the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), but the Biden administration prolonged it at the last moment in early 2021.
The warhead-containing nose cone of an inert Minuteman 3 missile is seen in a training launch tube at Minot Air Force Base, N.D.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 03.01.2022
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