US to station nuclear weapons in UK amid tensions with Russia

The United States is planning to deploy nuclear weapons in the UK for the first time in 15 years amid increased tensions with Russia, the Telegraph has reported, citing Pentagon documents.

The report comes amid continuing standoff between Russia and NATO over the conflict in Ukraine, as some Western politicians are calling to prepare for a potential armed clash with Moscow.

The British newspaper cited procurement contracts for a new facility at the Royal Air Force station at Lakenheath in Suffolk that point to Washington’s intention to bring nuclear weapons to the base. RAF Lakenheath is expected to house B61-12 bombs that are three times more powerful than the bombs dropped on Hiroshima in 1945, the daily added. The US sent F-35 nuclear-capable fighters to the base last year.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said last year that Moscow would be compelled to enact “compensatory countermeasures” if American nuclear warheads return to Britain. Russia has accused the West of stoking tensions in Europe and maintains that the continuing expansion of NATO eastward is one of the root causes of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

High-ranking European officials, including German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius, have spoken about the need to brace for a potential full-blown war with Russia. Last week, Chair of the NATO Military Committee Admiral Rob Bauer urged the bloc to be “readier across the whole spectrum” for direct confrontation.

The head of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service, Sergey Naryshkin, dismissed the claims that Moscow is planning an offensive against NATO as “information warfare” aimed at justifying the ongoing “hybrid aggression”.

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