German netizens were left shaken by publications about a possible future deployment of US nuclear missiles in Europe and Russia's response to it in several major German media outlets, such as Die Welt and Die Zeit. Readers were especially dissatisfied with the scenario, whereby Germany would become a priority target for Russia only because US nukes are deployed there.
A user named Stan Lee wrote: "It feels really good to have another nation deploy its nuclear warheads at your backyard. Does it give you the feeling of total security? There is only a small disadvantage for us. If it comes to war, we will be the target, not the US." His thoughts were echoed by House B, who wrote: "You should not forget that a possible war would start at our doorsteps and not on the other side of the Atlantic."
Some users opposed the idea of deploying US nuclear missiles in Europe in general, suggesting that similar steps from Russia would definitely not be welcomed by the US.
One user, named Erik D, wrote: "Europe should not become a toy in the hands of the US." Another one, named Axel F wondered: "Imagine, Russia installs missile defense shields in Mexico and Canada and conducts military exercises there. How long will the US keep quiet?"
One German netizen, named Alexander M noted that Russia had also deployed its nukes in Kaliningrad, the Russian exclave in Europe. But a user Lutz G replied to him: "These are Russian missiles on Russian territory, not US ones in Poland or Romania." A user named Bavaria One concluded: "I want neither Russian, nor US nukes in my backyard."
Russian President Vladimir Putin warned the US against deploying its nuclear capabilities in Europe, promising a "swift and effective response." He said that Russia was ready to work with the US on arms control treaties and added that the topic will be raised during his meeting with US President Donald Trump on November 11 in Paris.
"If [New] Start is eliminated, nothing will remain in the area of arms control. If that happens, we will face a very worrying situation," he said.
The warning by the Russian president comes hot on the heels of US National Security Adviser John Bolton confirming that the US was planning to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. Earlier, US President Donald Trump announced that Washington would be withdrawing from the treaty and would be developing the weapons, previously regulated by it. Moscow has expressed regret over the US decision.
The INF treaty was signed between the Soviet Union and the United States in December 1987 and required the parties to destroy their ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of between 500 and 5,500 kilometers. The US and Russia have repeatedly accused each other of violating the treaty.