NATO Chief Shares More Nuclear Weapons Deployment Being Considered

In a June 17 interview, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg suggested that NATO countries should be discussing the deployment of nuclear weapons given the increased threats from Russia and China.

The NATO chief told the UK Telegraph that while he was unable to get into details about the number of operational or stored nuclear warheads currently held by NATO countries, the members of the alliance do consult with each other about it.

He reiterated that at its core, NATO is a nuclear alliance, and even though it seeks “a world without nuclear weapons,” so long as adversaries like Russia, China, and North Korea continue to maintain a nuclear arsenal, NATO would  “remain a nuclear alliance.”

While NATO does not publicly disclose much about its nuclear arsenal, it is publicly known that the United States has nuclear weapons deployed in several locations throughout Europe.

Stoltenberg made a rare reference to NATO’s nuclear arsenal during a press conference in Budapest on June 12, telling reporters that nuclear weapons were NATO’s “ultimate security guarantee” and a means of preserving peace.

President Vladimir Putin has made repeated warnings that Moscow would use nuclear weapons to defend its sovereignty and has accused NATO of bringing the world to the brink of nuclear war by supporting Ukraine.

In response to Stoltenberg’s interview with the Telegraph, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov accused the NATO chief of further escalating tensions.

Peskov said in a June 17 press briefing that Stoltenberg’s talk of nuclear weapons was contrary to the statement issued by the West during the Ukraine peace summit held in Switzerland just days earlier, which asserted that the use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine’s war with Russia was not an option.

NATO spokesperson Farah Dkhlallah quickly issued a statement clarifying Stoltenberg’s remarks to the Telegraph, explaining that NATO remained committed to being a “safe, secure, and effective nuclear deterrent.” To that end, the alliance was in the process of modernizing its nuclear program to replace older aircraft and weapons.

Dkhlallah added that other than this modernization program, there had been no changes to the alliance’s nuclear posture.