Russia has condemned the decision by the UK government to boost its nuclear arsenal – saying the move would harm international stability.
The UK will increase the cap on its nuclear warhead stockpile by more than 40 per cent, prime minister Boris Johnson revealed as part of his foreign policy review on Tuesday.
Russia’s foreign ministry described the British plans – which ends decades of gradual disarmament since the fall of the Soviet Union – as a serious blow to arms control.
The UK had previously been committed to cutting its stockpile to 180 Trident warheads by the mid-2020s, but the government review said the policy would now be to increase capacity to 260 warheads.
Increasing the stockpile would amount to a violation of international law, campaigners and experts have warned – pointing to the UK commitment to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.
Mr Johnson’s review also stated that the UK reserves the right to withdraw assurances that it will not use nuclear weapons against a non-nuclear armed state “if the future threat of weapons of mass destruction, such as chemical and biological capabilities, or emerging technologies that could have a comparable impact, makes it necessary”.