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    A US Air Force B-52 bomber returning from a mission over Iraq is refueling from a KC-10 plane over the Black Sea, in this Friday, March 28, 2003 photo

    Russian Foreign Ministry Warns of US Preparing to Use Nuclear Weapons in Europe

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    UNITED NATIONS (Sputnik) - By deploying nuclear weapons in Europe, the United States is preparing to use them with permission of non-nuclear European states, Vladimir Ermakov, the director of the Department for Non-Proliferation and Arms Control at the Russian Foreign Ministry, told Sputnik.

    "Unfortunately, some countries dependent on Washington pretend that nothing is happening, or are simply afraid of even thinking about the provocative nature of the fact that in the 21st century there is a preparation for the use of nuclear weapons with participation non-nuclear states on the territory of Europe," Ermakov said.

    According to the diplomat, it is impossible to seriously talk about strengthening of nuclear non-proliferation regime, when "civilised" European states "continue to mindlessly put themselves on the brink of a nuclear catastrophe and a total self-destruction."

    In March, US Air Force announced it had deployed six nuclear-capable B-52 bombers to Europe for "theater integration and flying training" with its NATO allies. The actions were promptly criticized by the Kremlin.

    In April, Ermakov said that the US military exercises involving nuclear component might result in catastrophic events, and Europe has to realize the risks of taking part in such "crazy actions."

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