MOSCOW (Sputnik) — On Monday, the US Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) authorized the bomb lifespan upgrade. The B61-12 is expected to be integrated with existing NATO forces and the F-35 aircraft in order to enhance NATO nuclear posture in Europe.
According to Kimball, US President Barack Obama and his successor, as well as Russian President Vladimir Putin, have a responsibility "to pull back from a nuclear action-reaction cycle," which, he said, put both countries at risk.
"To start, the two presidents should issue a joint statement reaffirming their understanding that there can be no winners in a nuclear war and that as long as each side has nuclear weapons, strategic stability will remain central to their bilateral relations," Kimball said.
He said that neither Russia nor the United States "should believe that it is possible to use nuclear weapons in a limited way as part of a conventional conflict."
In 2010, Russia and the United States signed the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), which went into force in February the following year, to last until 2021.
According to US media reports, Obama plans to offer extending the New START for five years beyond its expiration date. On Friday, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Director of the Department for Nonproliferation and Arms Control Mikhail Ulyanov said that Moscow was ready to consider extending the New START, should Washington submit its offer.
Moscow has repeatedly said that it has no intention to expand its nuclear capabilities and has warned against US and NATO moves for such enhancements.