The United States is reportedly planning on stationing nuclear weapons in the United Kingdom. Friday night, the Telegraph reported having gained access to Pentagon procurement contracts that confirm the U.S. “intends to place nuclear warheads three times the strength of the Hiroshima bomb at the air base.”
🔴 EXCLUSIVE: US to station nuclear weapons in UK to counter threat from Russia
— The Telegraph (@Telegraph) January 26, 2024
British opinions on the move are mixed. British officials suggest that the country should begin to prepare for war. On the other hand, vocal opposition to the use of nuclear weapons is likely, based on last year’s protests.
The U.S. previously kept nuclear weapons on British soil during the Cold War. Those weapons were removed in 2008, making this the first time in 15 years that the country will be stationing nuclear weapons in the U.K.
The bombs in question are small B61-12 nuclear gravity bombs, capable of being carried by F-15s, F-16s, and F-35s. These weapons are approximately three times more powerful than the “Little Boy” atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima in 1945.
The bombs will reportedly be housed at RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk. Both U.S. and U.K. officials neither confirm nor deny the claims.
Russian officials have discouraged such a move. Foreign ministry spokesman Maria Zakharova has previously said, “If this step is ever made, we will view it as escalation,” in response to the possibility of U.S. stationing nuclear weapons in Europe.
International tensions between Russia and NATO have steadily been increasing for years. While the war between Russia and Ukraine is considered to have begun in 2014 with the annexation of Crimea, Russia’s ongoing full-scale invasion of Ukraine, which began in 2022, has led to even greater unrest.
The U.S. Government has sent mixed messages about the conflict so far. U.S. Legislators have so far been rejecting the notion of open war but also choosing to heavily fund the Ukrainian resistance to Russia. Perhaps this new development will send a stronger message to the Russians to back off. Or, perhaps it will tip the scales toward open war.