Moscow, Aug 3: The upgrade of the US B61-12 bomb will threaten nuclear security as its combat characteristics increase the risk of its use, senior Russian Foreign Ministry officials said on Wednesday.
"It is no coincidence that some American experts rushed to call the new war heads more 'ethical' because, as they say, their application will have less dramatic humanitarian consequences," Xinhua news agency quoted Mikhail Ulyanov, director of the ministry's Department for Non-Proliferation and Arms Control, as saying.
"But this is precisely the negative aspect: characteristics of such weapons would objectively increase the temptation to use them," Ulyanov said.
According to the diplomat, the unified nuclear warhead has been designed primarily to substitute obsolete US nuclear weapons in five European countries: Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey, as well as for its own storage in Washington.
The upgrade of the US nuclear arsenal in Europe is a long-term extension of the practice of joint NATO nuclear missions, in which pilots of non-nuclear countries are preparing to use US nuclear weapons, Ulyanov said, adding, it's a "flagrant violation of the letter and spirit of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons".
The B61 nuclear bomb, designed in 1963, is one of the US's primary thermo-nuclear weapons.
On Monday, US National Nuclear Security Administration said in a statement that it had authorized production of an upgraded B61-12 nuclear warhead from 2020, which will have greater accuracy and lesser destructive force and is expected to replace the existing US B61 bombs of its old modifications.