Russia deploys nuclear weapon carriers in occupied Crimea – Yelchenko
Ukraine's Permanent Representative to the United Nations Volodymyr Yelchenko has said Russia deployed in occupied Crimea carriers and other means capable of delivering nuclear weapons.
"After the Russian Federation occupied Crimea, it has been tightening its military grip over the occupied peninsula. Comparing to the pre-occupation period, Russia has more than doubled its military personnel from 12,500 to over 28,000, and up to 31,500 probably, according to the recent estimations," he said at a briefing on the security in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov Region.
"Russia has also substantially reinforced and modernized its military land, air, and naval components," he said.
"Russian military in Crimea got tanks and anti-aircraft systems, which were not present there before, up to six-seven times more combat vehicles, artillery systems, combat aircraft."
He added that Russia more than doubled the number of combat helicopters, combat ships and submarines in the area.
"These forces are capable of carrying out comprehensive military operations in south-western strategic direction, which includes water and coastal areas, corresponding airspace over the Azov and Black Seas, as well as in the far-operating zone of the Mediterranean," Yelchenko stressed.
"Particularly dangerous are the Russian actions, which could lead to re-nuclearization of Crimea. The occupation authorities in Crimea are preparing military infrastructure for potential deployment of nuclear weapons, including the refurbishment of the Soviet-era nuclear warheads storage facilities."
"Since 2015, the 12th General Directorate of the Russian Military General Staff, which is known to be in charge of the maintenance, transportation and disposal of nuclear warheads for tactical and ballistic missiles, conducts regular inspections in the occupied Crimea," he said.
The Ambassador noted that Russia had "already deployed in the occupied Crimea carriers and other means capable of delivering nuclear weapons."
Among them there is a "Russian cruiser 'Moskva' with the missile system 'Vulkan,' three submarines, one frigate, two small missile ships, which are equipped with cruise missiles 'Kalibr,' SU-24 bombers, which can carry nuclear bombs."
"Anytime Moscow can bring back other means of delivery of nuclear weapons to Crimea, which have been already used in the occupied territory for training purposes. This includes operational tactical missile complexes 'Iskander,' additional fighter bombers and other armament," Yelchenko said.