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Russia's Lavrov says the US is training Europe to use nuclear weapons against it

  • Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday said the U.S. was training Europe's armed forces on how to use tactical nuclear weapons against Russia.
  • He also that the U.S. had decided to keep a significant number of rockets in breach of a major nuclear arms agreement called the non-proliferation treaty (NPT).
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov
Sergei Karpukhin | Reuters
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Wednesday that the U.S. was still deploying "strategic arms" in Europe and was training European countries to use nuclear weapons, violating a major nuclear arms agreement called the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Lavrov said that nuclear disarmament was impossible without taking into account factors which destabilize "strategic stability and international security today," including, he said, "the deployment of a global anti-missile system" and "the deployment of U.S. strategic arms in Europe and the continuing destabilizing practice of 'joint nuclear missions,' as they call them."

"As we all know, these nuclear missions violate the Non-Proliferation Treaty and non-nuclear states plan and take part in the U.S. exercises and learn how to use the nuclear weapons," he said.

The Russian Foreign Ministry tweeted a video in which Lavrov was speaking to other delegates at the conference.

For its part, he said Russia had reduced its nuclear arsenal by 85 percent compared to the Cold War era.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has complained about what it calls "joint nuclear missions" and says the U.S. has many nuclear weapons located in Europe. It also says the U.S. is training European countries to use these weapons.

Last April, the foreign ministry issued a statement in which it said that "Washington's approach to compliance with its obligations under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) is still of great concern. The U.S. and its non-nuclear NATO allies continue their nuclear skill training as part of the so-called "nuclear sharing"," it said.

"This is a serious violation of Articles I and II of the NPT," the ministry said.

Article I of the NPT prohibits nuclear states from transferring nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, or control over such weapons or explosive devices, to any recipient whatsoever, directly or indirectly. Article II prohibits non-nuclear states from receiving the transfer, directly or indirectly.

But Lavrov repeated Russia's position on the matter on Wednesday.

"Everyone understands that this way, the U.S. military prepares the military of European countries for the use of nuclear weapons against Russia," he said.

Russia, he added, had not deployed any nuclear weapons and did not test them. On the contrary, the U.S. had taken an "aggressive position" he said.

"These initiatives we see on the part of the U.S. do not promote non-proliferation, they promote the deterioration of the full implementation of it (the treaty)."

Russia has also long-objected to the deployment of a U.S.-commanded NATO missile defense system in eastern Europe, saying it is not designed to prevent a possible ballistic missile attack from Iran but designed to undermine and neutralize Moscow's nuclear arsenal. NATO and the U.S. deny that accusation.