A Russian military expert has warned there is ‘no doubt’ Russia has moved nuclear missiles to the Crimean peninsula.
Pavel Felgenhauer, a military analyst who successfully predicted Putin’s invasion of Georgia in 2008, accused the Russian premier of reneging on several treaties in order to bolster defences in the disputed territory.
‘For Moscow the Crimea is a Russian territory, so the agreements on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons do not worry her much,’ Felgenhauer told Ukrainian newspaper Gordonua.
‘In general, there are quite a lot of tactic weapons in the Russian Federation – according to various estimates, up to 10,000 units.’
Speaking about the 1991 agreement signed between the US and Russia on not deploying nuclear weapons on ships or planes he said it was only a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ and ‘is actually not being implemented’.
‘Obviously Russia will not confirm or deny the presence of nuclear weapons in the Crimea,’ Felgenhauer continued, ‘But there can be no doubt they are there.’
Felgenhauer’s revelation come just 24 hours after Ukraine’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Pavlo Klimkin said the peninsula was being used by Putin as a ‘major military base’.
‘Now Crimea has turned into Russia’s major military base,’ Klimkin said on Tuesday.
‘At the same time we don’t know exactly what they have there. We have reasonable suspicions there may be nuclear weapons, or at least, infrastructure for nuclear weapons.’
Thousands of Russian troops have been stationed in the Crimea since it was annexed in 2014 amid widespread international condemnation.
Russian MP Vyacheslav Alekseyevich Nikonov has previously warned Russia could use nuclear weapons to defend its position if forces led by the US or make a move into Crimea.
‘If US forces, Nato forces, are, were, in the Crimea, in eastern Ukraine, Russia is undefendable militarily in case of conflict, without using nuclear weapons in the early stage of the conflict,’ Nikonov told a global security forum in Slovakia last year.