The Belgian tabloid De Morgen published a copy of the document detailing where the US nuclear bombs are stored in Europe.
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A nuclear war “cannot be won and must never be fought,” the United States, Russia, China, the UK, and France unanimously agreed in January, in a rare instance of agreement on a matter of international security. A senior U.S. State Department official at the time described the vow, the outcome of months of negotiations, as “an acknowledgement that it is something that we want to avoid.”
However, in light of Russia’s recent escalation in bellicose rhetoric, U.S. President Biden has warned that Putin is “not joking when he talks about the potential deployment of tactical nuclear weapons” warning: “I don’t think there’s any such thing as the ability to easily (use) a tactical nuclear weapon and not end up with Armageddon”. Adding historical context, Biden said: “We have not faced the prospect of Armageddon since Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis.”
According to Martin Armstrong of Statista, nine countries are thought to now have close to 13,000 nuclear warheads.
The United States and Russia are at the top of the list, as compiled by the Federation of American Scientists (FAS), with a combined arsenal of nearly 11,000 weapons. “Instead of planning for nuclear disarmament, the nuclear-armed states appear to plan to retain large arsenals for the indefinite future,” the FAS said in late 2021. “All continue to modernise their remaining nuclear forces…and all appear committed to retaining nuclear weapons for the indefinite future.”
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But Armstrong continues, “In 2019, a NATO-affiliated entity released and then erased a document that allegedly confirmed something that had been believed for a long time—U.S. nuclear weapons are being housed at air bases in numerous European countries.” The Belgian tabloid De Morgen published a copy of the document, which claimed that six facilities in Europe are home to the storage of B61 nuclear bombs.
The bases under question are Kleine Brogel in Belgium, Büchel in Germany, Aviano and Ghedi in Italy, Volkel in the Netherlands, and Incirlik in Turkey, according to a factsheet from the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation.
The weapons are a result of a Cold War pact from the 1960s, which attempted to dissuade the Soviet Union and persuade the other countries that they did not need to begin their own nuclear weapons programmes.
The B61 is a two-stage radiation implosion low to intermediate yield strategic and tactical thermonuclear gravity bomb. It can be installed on a variety of aircraft, including the F-15E, F-16, and Tornado. It has a 31-second delay after being dropped from a height of 50 feet at velocities of up to Mach 2, allowing the delivery aircraft to get away from the blast radius.