Russia will take ‘countermeasures’ if nuclear weapons are stored …
The Russian foreign ministry spokesperson has said that a return of nuclear weapons to RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk would be an “escalation”. Maria Zakharova, the foreign ministry spokesperson, was responding to the 2024 US Air Force budget which included building a dormitory at the Suffolk base.
The 114 bunk dormitory would be for personnel on a “potential surety mission”. RAF Lakenheath has reportedly also been added to the list of US-operated air bases in Europe to store the B61-12 guided bomb.
Zakharova said: “If this step is ever made, we will view it as escalation, as a step toward escalation that would take things to a direction that is quite opposite to addressing the pressing issue of pulling all nuclear weapons out of European countries. In the context of the transition of the United States and NATO to an openly confrontational course of inflicting a ‘strategic defeat’ on Russia, this practice and its development force us to take compensating countermeasures designed to reliably protect the security interests of our country and its allies.”
If the move goes ahead, it would raise the possibility of the return of US nuclear weapons to Britain for the first time in more than 15 years. RAF Lakenheath has been the subject of two nuclear weapons accidents in the 1950s and 1960s.
In 1956, a B-47 bomber on a routine training mission crashed into storage beside the runway. The three Mark-6 nuclear weapons involved did not detonate.
Five years later in 1961, a parked US Air Force F-100 Super Sabre caught fire with a Mark 28 hydrogen bomb on board. While the nuclear weapon did not go off, it had nearly five times more power than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima in the Second World War.
- ^ Suffolk (www.cambridge-news.co.uk)
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