Fears that US may site nuclear weapons on UK soil in 'new cold war'

By staff writers
June 8, 2015

Reports have emerged over the weekend that the US government is considering deploying land-based medium-range nuclear missiles in Europe that could pre-emptively destroy Russian weapons.

This 'counterforce' option is among the possibilities under consideration as the US reviews its policy toward Russia in light of Moscow's military intervention in Ukraine and its annexing of Crimea.

Russia is alleged to be flight-testing a ground-launched cruise missile with a range prohibited by a cold-war era nuclear treaty, although it denies violating the treaty and claims violations by the United States in erecting missile defences.

The UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond had said he does not rule out these weapons coming to Britain but added: “We would look at the case. We work extremely closely with the Americans. That would be a decision that we would make together if that proposition was on the table. We would look at all the pros and the cons and come to a conclusion.”

When asked if he would back plans to re-introduce US missiles to Europe, Hammond said: “We have got to send a clear signal to Russia that we will not allow them to transgress our red lines. At the same time, we have to recognise that the Russians do have a sense of being surrounded and under attack and we don't want to make unnecessary provocations.”

The General Secretary of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), Kate Hudson, said: "Frankly, these proposals are a disaster, which would risk the lives of millions of people. The US government seems intent on harking back to Cold War means of resolving their disputes, rather than pursue diplomatic methods.

"We welcome Hammond's note of caution yesterday, when he warned against making 'unnecessary provocations' against Russia, highlighting that Moscow has a 'sense of being surrounded and under attack'. Now he needs to categorically rule out hosting US nukes.

"The UK government needs to remember the huge protests of the 1980s against bringing US cruise missiles to Britain – including demonstrations of hundreds of thousands of people and peace camps at Greenham Common and elsewhere. A majority of the British people do not even want us to have nuclear weapons ourselves, let alone receive new American ones which will put us on the front line in any future US conflict. CND and its supporters will forcefully object and resist any attempt to bring US nuclear missiles here."

[Ekk/4]

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