Russia Threatens U.S. with Escalation if Nukes Placed in UK


The detonation of the atomic bomb nicknamed "Smokey," as part of Operation PLUMBBOB in the Nevada desert. 1957.
(Photo by © CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)


Tensions have been rising as Russia warned that it would view the return of U.S. nuclear weapons to British military sites as a major escalation. This announcement comes after reports that the US Air Force has secured $50 million for a project that could see American nuclear weapons on British soil for the first time in 15 years.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova expressed this concern during a briefing, stating, “If this step is ever made, we will view it as an escalation, as a step toward escalation that would take things to a direction that is quite opposite to addressing the pressing issue of pulling all nuclear weapons out of European countries.” She added that such an action would necessitate countermeasures to protect Russia’s security interests and those of its allies, although she did not specify what these countermeasures might be.

This development follows a congressional decision last week which approved funding for RAF Lakenheath, located about 60 miles northeast of London, to construct a 144-bed dormitory. This facility is expected to accommodate an increase in enlisted personnel due to a potential “surety mission.”

According to the Federation of American Scientists, a global policy thinktank, “surety mission” is a military term referring to the ability to keep nuclear weapons safe, secure, and under positive control.

U.S. nuclear weapons were first deployed in Britain in 1954 and were withdrawn from British soil in 2008. The same base that previously housed around 100 warheads, RAF Lakenheath, is expected to support U.S. personnel from February 2026 when the new dormitories are completed.

The Pentagon included the UK in its 2023 budget, claiming that it has supported Britain and other countries, including Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Turkey, by investing $384 million in infrastructure for the storage of “special weapons” over 13 years. “Special weapons” is another euphemism for nuclear weapons.

Though Britain is one of just five countries considered “nuclear-weapon states”, the Trident nuclear submarine program has been its only operational nuclear weapons system since 1998. The exact locations of any of the four Vanguard-class submarines carrying the UK’s nuclear arsenal remain a secret.


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