World Bulletin / News Desk
A senior Russian arms control official on Monday raised the possibility of the Kremlin deploying nuclear weapons to the Crimean peninsula, annexed by Russian forces last year.
Russia “retains the right, if needed, to deploy its nuclear weapons anywhere on its national territory, including on the Crimean peninsula,” Mikhail Ulyanov, director of the Foreign Ministry’s arms control department, said in an interview with the state-run RIA Novosti news agency.
Ulyanov appeared to be responding to comments made by Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin during last month’s NATO summit in Turkey, when he said stationing nuclear weapons in the Black Sea territory, annexed from Ukraine in March last year, would be a breach of international commitments.
“Any activity or even signals from Russia on the mere possibility of deploying nuclear weapons in Crimea will be considered the gravest breach in all international norms,” Klimkin said in Antalya.
Russia had previously said it would post long-range Flanker aircraft capable of carrying nuclear armaments to Crimea, although it did not say if the planes would be equipped with nuclear warheads.
Ulyanov added: “How is it that [Klimkin], in seeing Crimea as part of Ukrainian territory, even suggest that the deployment of Russian nuclear arms there would damage the non-nuclear status of Ukraine?”
Russia denies claims that it is supporting separatist fighters in eastern Ukraine despite evidence that Russian troops are operating across the border and that attacks have been launched on Ukrainian troops from Russian soil.Güncelleme Tarihi: 01 Haziran 2015, 16:30