MOSCOW – A Russian official says Moscow is alarmed by the US Navy’s decision to deploy low-yield nuclear missiles on submarines since they heighten the risk of a limited nuclear war.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Wednesday the deployment of the W76-2 warhead in the name of strengthening deterrence had caused Russia great concern over US nuclear strategy.

Ryabkov said Russian rearmament and “promising models of military equipment” meant the US warheads were not a direct threat to Russian security but were concerning nevertheless, Russian news agencies reported.

“The appearance on strategic carriers of low-power warheads means arguments previously voiced by the American side about the possible use of such a device are now being realized in metal form, as products.

“This reflects the fact that the United States is actually lowering the nuclear threshold and that they are conceding the possibility of them waging a limited nuclear war and winning this war. This is extremely alarming.”

The comments came after the US Defense Department said on Tuesday the Navy had fielded a low-yield, submarine-launched ballistic missile warhead, something the Pentagon says is needed to deter adversaries like Russia.

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