A new report claims the United States is relocating nuclear weapons to the United Kingdom for the first time in almost 20 years as tensions increase between Russia and the United States and its allies.
The Telegraph reported Friday that it had reviewed documents from the Pentagon regarding procurement contracts for a facility in Suffolk at Royal Air Force Lakenheath. The outlet reported that the Pentagon documents confirm that the United States is planning to store nuclear warheads three times more powerful than the Hiroshima atomic bomb at the U.K. air base.
According to The Telegraph, the U.S. previously held nuclear weapons at Royal Air Force Lakenheath during the Cold War. Based on the Pentagon documents, the outlet reports that the air base will soon hold B61-12 nuclear gravity bombs that can be deployed by F-15s, F-16s, and F-35s.
The Telegraph’s report claimed that the Pentagon has ordered new military equipment for Lakenheath, including ballistic shields that are designed to protect military members from enemy attacks on “high value assets.”
Chairman of the Military Committee of NATO Admiral Rob Bauer recently warned that NATO forces are “preparing for a conflict with Russia” because “it’s not a given that we are in peace.” Bauer added that European forces need to be prepared for a potential war with Russia over the next couple of decades.
The Telegraph noted that Russia has threatened to respond if the United States relocates nuclear weapons to the United Kingdom.
“If this step is ever made, we will view it as escalation, as a step toward escalation that would take things to a direction that is quite opposite to addressing the pressing issue of pulling all nuclear weapons out of European countries,” Maria Zakharova, a Russian foreign ministry spokesman, said previously regarding the potential return of U.S. nuclear weapons to Europe. “In the context of the transition of the United States and NATO to an openly confrontational course of inflicting a ‘strategic defeat’ on Russia, this practice and its development force us to take compensating countermeasures designed to reliably protect the security interests of our country and its allies.”
While a Pentagon spokesperson told The Telegraph that the United States “routinely upgrades its military facilities in allied nations,” the spokesperson claimed the Pentagon documents “are not predictive of… any specific posture or basing details.”
“It is US policy to neither confirm nor deny the presence or absence of nuclear weapons at any general or specific location,” the spokesperson added.