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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 54, February 2001

EU Seeks Assurances on Kaliningrad Nuclear Deployment Scare

On February 15, a delegation from the European Union travelled to the Russian Baltic enclave of Kaliningrad, to discuss regional issues including an alleged deployment of Russian tactical nuclear weapons (see last issue for details). The claim - repeated in The Washington Times on the day of the delegation's arrival in the enclave - has been vigorously denied by Russian officials. Greeting the EU team, Defence Minister Igor Sergeyev described the suggestion as "absolute and complete nonsense," while Kaliningrad Governor Vladimir Yegorov stated that the US media had "invented this devil with horns". Anna Lindh, Foreign Minister of Sweden, current holders of the EU Presidency, told reporters she had raised the issue with Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov "and he denied it." According to the Washington Times article, however, US intelligence now has what it is said to consider conclusive satellite evidence of the exact location of the nuclear weapons. According to an unnamed Defense Department official: "The Russians are denying it, but we know better." The article also quoted Zbigniew Brzezinski, National Security Advisor under President Carter, as commenting: "It's conduct you would not expect from a responsible government that generally wants to be part of the partnership of the European community, as Putin has indicated... No one likes to be sitting next to nuclear weapons, stored or unstored..."

Report: Scientists pinpoint Russian nuclear arms in Baltics, Washington Times, February 15; EU party travels to Kaliningrad, Associated Press, February 15; EU gets Russian assurances on nukes in Kaliningrad, Reuters, February 15.

© 2001 The Acronym Institute.