Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Rodionov Issues Nuclear Threat

Russia may point its nuclear missiles at East European countries if they join the U.S.-led NATO bloc, Defense Minister Igor Rodionov said in an article published Thursday.

The proposed NATO expansion into Eastern Europe would create a situation similar to the Cold War, Rodionov wrote in Nezavisimaya Gazeta.

"Such prospects inevitably arouse grave concern,'' the minister said. "NATO's eastward expansion is unacceptable for Russia.''

This expansion may eventually allow NATO aviation to reach central Russia and enhance the alliance's naval capabilities, if it gets strategic naval bases in the former Soviet Baltic countries, he said.

In response, Russia might be forced to create its own military alliance, ignore all treaties on nuclear weapons' reduction and beef up forces on its western borders, including nuclear weapons, Rodionov said.

"Matters may go so far that we might re-target missiles, directing them at some European countries that will join NATO especially if these nations agree to the deployment of NATO nuclear weapons on their territory,'' he warned.

Rodionov said, however, that Russia might agree to NATO expansion if it signs a special treaty with the alliance first.

"Such a document could help remove many concerns and define conditions under which NATO enlargement will not arouse anxiety among the Russians and their allies,'' he said.