Russia denounced on Wednesday the decision of the British government to increase the ceiling of its nuclear arsenal, a first since the fall of the Soviet Union.
“We very much regret that Great Britain has chosen the path of increasing its nuclear weapons,” said spokesman for the Russian presidency, Dmitry Peskov. “This decision harms global stability and strategic security,” he added. London decided to raise this ceiling at the end of its first strategic review on security, defense and post-Brexit foreign policy.
An increase of 45%
It also makes Russia a major threat to the country, London and Moscow having maintained deleterious relations for years, in particular because of the poisoning in British territory of detractors of Russian power.
“No threat emanates from Russia,” replied Dmitry Peskov, deeming “unacceptable” to assert the contrary. According to the report on Tuesday, London plans to raise the maximum cap on its stockpile of nuclear warheads from 180 to 260, or an increase of about 45%, ending a gradual disarmament underway since the dislocation of the USSR thirty years ago.
This change of course, after the commitment made by the United Kingdom in 2010 to reduce it by the mid-decade of 2020, is justified by a “growing range of technological and doctrinal threats”, according to the document. It runs counter to international anti-proliferation goals, weeks after the Americans and Russians agreed to extend a nuclear weapons limitation treaty. “The existence of nuclear weapons is a threat to peace on the whole Earth”, noted Dmitry Peskov, at the head of a country which has the largest nuclear arsenal in the world, with 8,500 warheads.