Donald Trump takes tough stance on Russia nuclear threat

Updated: Feb 04, 2018, 12:02 IST | Agencies

With an eye on Russia, Trump regime announces new policy to expand and modernise nuclear arsenal, warns countries against aiding terrorists eyeing nukes; Moscow 'deeply disappointed’

Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin. Pics/AFP
Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin. Pics/AFP

Concerned about Russia's growing tactical nuclear weapons, the US will expand its nuclear capabilities, a policy document released on Friday said, a move some critics say could increase the risk of miscalculation between the two countries.

It represents the latest sign of hardening resolve by President Donald Trump's administration to address challenges from Russia, at the same time he is pushing for improved ties with Moscow to rein in a nuclear North Korea. The focus on Russia is in line with the Pentagon shifting priorities from the fight against Islamist militants to "great power competition" with Moscow and Beijing.

"Our strategy will ensure Russia understands that any use of nuclear weapons, however limited, is unacceptable," the document, known as the Nuclear Posture Review, said. The rationale for building up new nuclear capabilities, US officials said, is that Russia currently perceives the United States' nuclear posture and capabilities as inadequate.
By expanding its own low-yield nuclear capability, the US would deter Russia from using nuclear weapons, US officials argue.

Low-yield nuclear weapons, while still devastating, have a strength of less than 20 kilotons. The atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima had about the same explosive power. Greg Weaver, deputy director of strategic capabilities at the Pentagon, said US would be willing to limit developing the missile if Russia would "redress the imbalance in non-strategic nuclear forces."

Russia has a stockpile of 2,000 non-strategic nuclear weapons, according to the Pentagon. But, Moscow denounced the "bellicose" and "anti-Russian" nature of the policy, warning it would take necessary measures to ensure its own security, adding that it was "deeply disappointed".

Japan atomic bomb survivors slam US
Associations representing atomic bomb survivors in Japan criticised on Saturday a change in the policy of the US which advocates modernising its atomic arsenal and increasing its launch capacity. Toshiyuki Mimaki of the Japan Confederation of A-and H-Bomb Sufferers Organisations expressed anger over the change in Washington's strategy, saying it posed an obstacle to global denuclearisation, Japan's state broadcaster NHK reported.

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