15:33 02.03.2015

Russia stepping up nuclear exercises amid events in Ukraine – NATO deputy chief

1 min read
Russia stepping up nuclear exercises amid events in Ukraine – NATO deputy chief

Since the beginning of the conflict in Ukraine, Russia has stepped up nuclear exercises, NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow has said.

"Russia has stepped up its nuclear exercises and integrated a nuclear component into conventional exercises. Russian bombers have been flying closer to Allied borders. And the Russian leadership has been boasting about the development of new nuclear weapons. Perhaps this is mostly rhetoric, but it is highly irresponsible," he said at the annual NATO conference on WMD arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation in Doha, Qatar, on March 2.

He also recalled that Russia breached the 1994 Budapest Memorandum. "In this agreement, Russia had committed to uphold Ukraine's territorial integrity in exchange for Ukraine transferring former Soviet nuclear weapons back to Russia," he said.

"Some Ukrainians are now wondering whether they should have kept the weapons they once inherited, rather than giving them away in exchange for a worthless promise. Other countries may wonder, too, and that's not good news for the future of our non-proliferation effort," Vershbow said.

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