Russia views NATO’s rhetoric on putting nukes on alert as escalation

The recent remark by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg that the bloc’s allied member states are discussing putting their nuclear arsenals on alert is another bout of tensions, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

“This is nothing else but an escalation,” Peskov said.

Unlike Western officials, the Russian president never talks nukes “at his own initiative as he takes the issue seriously,” the Kremlin spokesman added.

“Whenever President [Vladimir] Putin comments on the issue of nuclear arms, he does so, taking someone’s questions or questions from reporters, including foreign ones,” he explained.

Also, the NATO chief’s statement runs counter to the declaration issued following last weekend’s conference on Ukraine in Switzerland, Peskov added. The communique, he said, ruled out such rhetoric as inadmissible.

Stoltenberg told The Daily Telegraph in an interview that NATO allies had started consultations on the need to put nuclear weapons on alert, including against the background of China’s plans to increase the number of its nuclear warheads.

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