Russia has the right to house nuclear weapons on its territory, if it deems this move to be necessary, while this also includes the option of stationing them in Crimea, a statement from the Foreign Ministry read.
“Russia obviously retains the right, if needed, to deploy its nuclear weapons anywhere on its national territory, including on the Crimean Peninsula,” the Director of the Department for Non-Proliferation and Arms control at the Russian Foreign Ministry, Mikhail Ulyanov told the RIA Novosti news agency on Monday.
Ulyanov’s statement comes in response to the Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin saying in May that the deployment of Russian arms in Crimea would violate the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
“Any activity or even signals from Russia that they are even considering deploying nuclear weapons in Crimea will be considered a grave breach of the international code of conduct. If this happens, the international community will need to act decisively,” Klimkin said.
Mikhail Ulyanov added that the US missile defense plans remain a major challenge in relations between Moscow and Washington, while also mentioning that discussions between the two countries concerning nuclear disarmament are not looking positive.
“Of all the factors which are negatively affecting strategic stability, the most significant is the creation of the [US] National Missile Defense program,” he said, adding that the system was being developed step by step.
“Our position on this matter [US missile defense] has been voiced repeatedly. We need reliable guarantees of what we are told verbally at every corner – that this system is not directed against Russia’s nuclear deterrent. But so far we are told that such guarantees can not be written down on paper and that the system will be created with or without Russia’s backing,” Ulyanov added.
According to Ulyanov, the military policy of the United States doesn’t favour “further reductions [of nuclear arms]”. On the contrary, he adds, “it is an obstacle for them.”
“We cannot ignore what is happening in Europe, where the former conventional arms control treaty has in fact ceased to exist and there is nothing to replace it with.”
The diplomat added that “huge imbalances” have taken place as a consequence of NATO expansion, which are not in Russia’s favour.
“All of these negative aspects, which are preventing cuts in nuclear arsenals taking place are not coming from Russia.”