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Russian envoy says UK nuclear weapons plan illegal




FILE PHOTO: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during the weekly Question Time debate in the House of Commons in London, Britain March 10, 2021. British Parliament / Jessica Taylor / Handout via REUTERS

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia’s ambassador to Britain accused the British government of breaking international commitments with a plan to increase the country’s nuclear arsenal and said political ties between Moscow and London were almost dead.

In a foreign and defense policy review released Tuesday and endorsed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Britain said it must increase its nuclear arsenal in the face of evolving threats to global security.

Britain has said it will increase the upper limit of its stockpile of nuclear warheads to 260 from 180. The same report also ranked Russia as the most serious threat to our security in the Euro-Atlantic region.

The Kremlin said at the time it regretted Britain’s nuclear decision, which it said would damage international stability, while the Russian Foreign Office described the move as a blow to international control armaments.

Andrei Kelin, Russian ambassador to Britain, went further in an interview due to air Sunday on London-based LBC radio station, saying the plan appeared illegal.

You increase the number of warheads by 40%. This is a violation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty and many other agreements that only say a drop or reduction in the number of nuclear weapons, Kelin told LBC, according to a partial transcript on the website. from the radio.

The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which Britain ratified, entered into force in 1970. The British government said its plans did not violate the pact.

Russian news agencies quoted Kelin as saying that political relations between London and Moscow, which have become strained by the events of the imprisonment in Russia of opposition politician Alexei Navalny to the poisoning in 2018 of an agent Russian double and his daughter, were almost dead.

They quoted Kelin as saying that only cultural and economic ties remained, while LBC quoted him as saying that the last time he spoke with UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab was in December. 2019.

Reporting by Andrew Osborn; Edited by David Goodman

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