In Germany, secret exercises were held to practice military operations using nuclear weapons.
As noted in the media, today the risk of nuclear war has grown significantly, in particular after the termination of the Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles, which was torn apart on August 2 last year.
Germany has conducted clandestine nuclear warfare exercises, Bild reported. The publication clarified that the exercises called “Persistent Noon” took place at the Nörfenich airbase in North Rhine-Westphalia.
According to the information in the material, the specified area is an alternative storage location for the US B61 hydrogen bombs, which are located in Büchel, Rhineland-Palatinate.
According to the information of journalists, at the same time in Büchel the exercises “Sustainable Guard” are being held. The Air Force is practicing protecting an air base from attack using Patriot air defense systems.
According to military experts, the exercises “Resilient Noon”, among other things, are practicing the safe transportation of American nuclear weapons from underground storage facilities to the aircraft, as well as its installation. The publication drew attention to the fact that training tests are held without shells. As stated in the publication, Germany used fighter-bombers capable of carrying nuclear weapons in the maneuvers. The main goal of these exercises is to practice the defense of Germany using atomic bombs.
The maneuvers involve not only the German Air Force, but also the NATO allies. In particular, according to the information provided, Dutch, Belgian and Italian fighters are involved in the exercises.
The article expressed the opinion that now the risk of starting a nuclear war is much higher than in the past three decades. Journalists explained this by the US withdrawal from the Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles.
The INF Treaty ceased to operate on August 2 – after Moscow and Washington failed to settle mutual claims. The American side accused Russia of violating the agreement over the 9M729 cruise missile, the range of which, according to the United States, exceeds the maximum allowable. But the Russian Federation does not agree with this.
In response, Moscow put forward its claims to Washington. In Russia, they opposed the American missile defense systems (ABM), which the United States deployed in Romania and is deployed in Poland. According to the Russian side, these missile defense systems can be equipped with Tomahawks with a prohibited range. But Washington rejected these claims.
In order to preserve the global security architecture, Moscow suggested that the members of the North Atlantic Alliance support a moratorium on the deployment of the INF Treaty.
“Let me remind you that despite the destruction of the US Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, we made a very important political gesture. President [Vladimir] Putin of Russia said that the treaty no longer exists, but we will act in a mirror-like manner: if the US starts developing the appropriate means, we reserve the right to do the same. If they are tested, we will have such a right,” said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
After the termination of the INF Treaty, there was only one document in the world that contained the nuclear potential of Russia and the United States – the Treaty on the Reduction of Strategic Offensive Arms (START-3).
But now its existence remains in question. The parties to the treaty – Russia and the United States – need to extend its validity for five years in the near future, otherwise it will lose its force. But Moscow and Washington have not yet come to an agreement on the terms of the extension.
The Russian side stresses the importance of this document. At the same time, the United States insists that on their part the treaty will be signed if China joins it. But Beijing rejects this prospect.
The Associated Press reported earlier this month that the United States and Russia had made progress in negotiations to extend START III. The US President’s special envoy for arms control Marshall Billingsley highly appreciated the conversation with Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov.
According to Ryabkov, the Russian side is ready to agree to an extension of START-3 even less than five years, although a five-year term is preferable. Shortly before that, UN Secretary General António Guterres called on Moscow and Washington to extend START III for five years without any delay.
The Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty was signed in 2010 by the then presidents of Russia and the United States, Dmitry Medvedev and Barack Obama. The agreement entered into force in 2011. It expires in February 2021.