MOSCOW, Aug. 3 (Xinhua) -- The upgrade of the U.S. B61-12 bomb will threaten nuclear security, as its combat characteristics increase the risk of its use, senior Russian Foreign Ministry officials said Wednesday.
"It is no coincidence that some American experts rushed to call the new warheads more 'ethical' because, as they say, their application will have less dramatic humanitarian consequences," said Mikhail Ulyanov, director of the ministry's Department for Non-Proliferation and Arms Control.
"But this is precisely the negative aspect: characteristics of such weapons would objectively increase the temptation to use them," Ulyanov was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti news agency.
According to the diplomat, the unified nuclear warhead has been designed primarily to substitute obsolete U.S. 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 U.S. 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 U.S. nuclear weapons, Ulyanov said, adding that it's a "flagrant violation of the letter and spirit of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT)."
Ulyanov recalled that Russian President Vladimir Putin had repeatedly said Moscow would not get dragged into a new costly arms race but it would certainly take care of the efficient provision of its national security.
The B61 nuclear bomb, designed in 1963, is one of the U.S.'s primary thermonuclear weapons. U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) said in a statement on Monday 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 U.S. B61 bombs of its old modifications.