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Ukraine suspects the Russian Federation of storing nuclear weapons in Crimea. Russian expert: "This is a show off"

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba, in an article for the outlet Foreign Affairs, said that the Russian Federation continues to build up its military potential in Crimea, including nuclear one. He noted that the Russian side uses the occupied peninsula "as a logistics hub for military activity in the Middle East." The Kremlin has not yet commented on Kuleba's statement.

Earlier, according to Radio Svoboda, First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Emine Dzheparova said earlier that Russia was developing infrastructure in Crimea for the deployment of nuclear weapons. The leader of the Crimean Tatar people Mustafa Dzhemilev also spoke about the restoration of the nuclear base on the peninsula by the Russians.

In February of this year, the then Minister of Defense of Ukraine Andrii Taran emphasized that Russia continued to militarize the annexed Crimea, and was also preparing for the deployment of nuclear weapons on the peninsula.

Former Chairperson of the Council of Ministers of Crimea Serhiy Kunitsyn does not exclude that Russia could restore the facility Feodosia-13 for storing nuclear weapons as the most suitable for such purposes.

"I have no doubts that with certain investments it is possible to store nuclear weapons at Feodosiya-13 again. Obviously it is already there. There are simply no other facilities equal to this in Crimea—in Balaklava, the submarine base was turned into a museum," he said.

However, not everyone shares this opinion. Russian military expert Pavel Luzin suggested that it would be beneficial for the Kremlin to pretend that there are nuclear weapons in the occupied Crimea. According to him, "this is such a military trick to show off."

"Despite the strong militarization of Crimea, there is simply nothing to attach this type of weapon to. The cruiser Moskva may be the only carrier of nuclear weapons in the Black Sea Fleet, but if something happens, the base in Novorossiysk will provide such a need. And the facility Feodosia-13 is very far from Sevastopol—the main location of the fleet," he argued.

Meanwhile, Pavlo Lakiychuk, Head of the Security Programs of Centre for Global Studies "Strategy XXI", noted that "tactical nuclear weapons can be deployed not only on warships, but also on tactical aircraft and long-range anti-aircraft missile systems." The expert added that such a weapon in Crimea most likely already exists—"and the Russians could have set it up even before 2014, they simply did not inform Ukraine."

Context. Feodosia-13 is the main storage base for nuclear weapons in Crimea built in 1950 for the production and storage of nuclear weapons. The storage was built in the massifs of Mount Kyzyltash.

On January 10, 1994 Ukraine announced its renunciation of nuclear weapons. TAt that time Ukraine, the United States, Russia, and the United Kingdom signed what is called the Budapest Memorandum.

In January 2014, after the annexation of Crimea, Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov said that Russia had the right to deploy nuclear weapons in Crimea if required.

In October 2018, the Ukrainian MFA stated that the Russian Federation could have deployed nuclear weapons on the peninsula or built infrastructure for them. The Kremlin replied that these assumptions were quite reasonable.

In November 2020, Chargé d'affaires a.i. of Ukraine to the United Nations, Yuriy Vitrenko, said that Moscow could compromise Ukraine's status as a nuclear-free state if it deployed nuclear weapons in the occupied Crimea.


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