Britain’s plans to build up its nuclear potential suggest that the kingdom needs to be involved in negotiations on strategic stability. This was stated by Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko. According to him, “such a dialogue is not only ripe, but already overripe” in the context of strengthening arms control regimes. Earlier, London decided to increase the limit on the number of nuclear warheads it has to 260. According to experts, Great Britain is “making an unprecedented step” by significantly increasing its arsenal. Having lost its political influence in the EU after leaving the union, Britain wants to build it up into NATO, analysts say.
“The steps that are being taken today by the British leadership, the announced plans to increase the number of nuclear weapons, just testify to the fairness of just such a formulation of the issue on our part,” he said.
According to Grushko, this is necessary because “as the nuclear potentials of the two main players – the United States and the Russian Federation – decrease, the share” of the arsenals of other powers possessing such weapons, including Britain, “in this nuclear equation increases.”
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“We proceed from the premise that such a dialogue is not only ripe, but already overripe, if we really want to move forward towards strengthening arms control regimes and strengthening strategic stability,” he said.
Earlier, London decided to increase the number of nuclear warheads in the kingdom to 260, according to a comprehensive review of the UK’s security, defense, development and external relations policy, which was released last week. The document notes that in 2010 the British government announced plans to reduce the maximum size of the nuclear arsenal from 225 to 180 warheads by the mid-2020s.
“However, given the changing security situation, including the increase in technological and doctrinal threats, this is no longer possible, and the UK will raise the ceiling to 260 warheads,” the document says.
As British Defense Minister Ben Wallace said in an interview with the BBC the day before, his “direct duty is to analyze and evaluate what Russia and other states have been working on over the past few years, within the framework of supporting a reliable deterrent mechanism.”
“In recent years, we have seen Russia actively invest in missile defense. New complexes were planned and deployed. If we want the containment mechanism to remain reliable, it must fulfill its function, ”Wallace answered a journalist’s question whether Britain really needs 80 additional nuclear warheads and what London is going to do with them.
The intentions of the British authorities to increase the nuclear potential were commented on in the Kremlin. According to the press secretary of the Russian president Dmitry Peskov, Moscow regrets that London has chosen “the path of increasing the number of nuclear warheads.”
“This is a decision that harms international stability and strategic security,” he stressed.
Peskov also noted that as a justification for this decision, “a certain ephemeral threat was voiced that comes from Russia.”
“Positioning Russia as a kind of threat is unacceptable for us, because it is not true,” the press secretary of the Russian president said.
Let us remind you that in a comprehensive review of the policy in the field of security, defense, development and foreign relations of Great Britain, the Russian Federation is called “the most acute direct threat to Great Britain.”
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“We will preserve (nuclear. – RT) potential, which would cause costs for the enemy, seriously exceeding the benefits that he hopes to receive from creating a threat to our security or the security of our allies, “- said in the document.
In addition, the survey mentions the Russian Federation 14 times, mostly in a negative context.
As noted by the representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova, Britain’s plans to increase its nuclear arsenal by 40% are served “under the sauce of absolutely far-fetched rantings about certain military threats from Russia.”
“What does Russia have to do with it? If you want to master the budget, say so,” Zakharova stressed during a briefing last week.
It is worth noting that on March 22, the British Defense Secretary’s forecast until 2030 was also published, entitled “Defense in an Age of Competition”, in which Russia appears as “the most serious threat in the field of nuclear and conventional weapons, as well as a hybrid threat to the European Union.”
“The modernization of the Russian Armed Forces, its ability to combine the activities of the private and public sectors and a greater appetite for risk make Russia a capable and unpredictable entity,” the document says.
In this regard, the Russian Federation “may pose a significant threat to the ability of Great Britain” to defend its interests in Europe, the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East, the forecast emphasizes.
“Finding your place in the world”
Alexei Podberezkin, director of the Center for Military-Political Studies at MGIMO, noted that the idea of including London in negotiations on strategic stability has a strong justification, since the decision of the United Kingdom to increase its nuclear arsenal violates a number of international agreements.
“London at one time undertook obligations not to increase the number of nuclear warheads, moreover, it was about reducing them,” the expert said.
He also recalled that when Russia and the United States were negotiating on the reduction of strategic offensive arms, and then on intermediate and shorter-range missiles, “the potentials of Great Britain and France were not taken into account.”
© U.S. Army
“They were bracketed. Now the time has come when these countries should be included in negotiations on strategic stability, since they are not only modernizing their potential, but also building it up, ”the analyst stated.
According to Podberezkin, Great Britain wants to increase the number of nuclear warheads not only to contain Russia, but also to confront China.
“They probably want to place an additional nuclear arsenal on submarines in the Indian Ocean in order to contain the PRC in Southeast Asia,” the expert said.
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Elena Ananyeva, head of the Center for British Studies at the Institute of Europe of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said in an interview with RT that the UK “is taking an unprecedented step by increasing the number of warheads.”
“Even more interesting is that London is doing this ahead of the conference of the parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, which has been postponed until 2021. Thus, if the general tendency is to reduce nuclear arsenals, then Britain at this time, on the contrary, is increasing the number of warheads, and it is doing this in the context of increasing defense spending, ”the analyst said.
Recall that London plans to increase its defense budget by more than 24 billion pounds over the next four years. Thus, the British side will retain the first place among the European NATO countries with the largest defense spending, which now amount to 2.2% of GDP.
Ananyeva also drew attention to the fact that the latest actions of the authorities of the United Kingdom speak of Britain’s search for “its place in the world after leaving the EU.”
“London, having left the European Union and having lost its political influence in this association, wants to build it up in the North Atlantic Alliance,” the expert believes.
At the same time, the British side “is promoting a consistent anti-Russian line,” Ananyeva added. According to her, this approach “is extremely convenient in the struggle of various rival forces within the kingdom.”
“For example, earlier the“ Russian card ”was played in the confrontation between the Brexiters and those who opposed Britain’s exit from the EU. The first were reproached for allegedly following Russia’s lead. Naturally, no evidence was presented, but such accusations were made. The refrain was the idea that the notorious influence of Russia is aimed at destroying the European Union. However, the internal political struggle does not cancel the geopolitical one – the collective West against Russia, ”the analyst concluded.
Source site russian.rt.com