Russia Claims Nukes in Crimea Possible

Russian officials asserted their right to station nuclear weapons in Crimea, though there is no intention of doing so at present, according to remarks by Russian foreign and defense officials. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that under international law, nuclear weapons were banned in Crimea solely because it was then part of Ukraine, reported the Los Angeles Times on Dec. 15. “Now Crimea has become part of a state which possesses such weapons,” said Lavrov, and “Russia has every reason to dispose of its nuclear arsenal … to suit its interests and international legal obligations,” he added. Russia’s strategic missile forces commander Col. Gen. Sergei Karakayev, however, said there are “no plans” to deploy nuclear missile forces in Crimea, because they serves no practical purpose. “Today’s long-range ballistic missiles can strike any target anywhere in the world without bringing them to the borders of Russia,” Karakayev added, according to a Dec. 16 state-run RIA-Novosti report.