London, Aug.18 : Russia is considering arming its Baltic fleet with nuclear warheads to counter American plans for a missile defence shield in Europe.
According to The Times, the nuclear warheads could be supplied to submarines, cruisers and fighter bombers of the Baltic fleet based in Kaliningrad, a Russian enclave between the European Union countries of Poland and Lithuania.
A senior military source in Moscow said the fleet had suffered from underfunding since the collapse of communism, and said this will change now.
The proposal to bring back nuclear warheads was condemned by Kurt Volker, the US Ambassador to NATO, who said he knew of the threat.
The warnings came 24 hours after Russia told Poland that it could face a nuclear strike for agreeing to let the United States station components of the missile defence shield on its soil.
The Russians have already indicated that they may point nuclear missiles at western Europe from bases in Kaliningrad and Belarus. They are also said to be thinking of reviving a military presence in Cuba.