Russia has the right to deploy nuclear weapons in the Crimean peninsula, which it seized from Ukraine in March, a top Russian official said Monday.
“Crimea was not a non-nuclear zone in an international law sense but was part of Ukraine, a state which doesn’t possess nuclear arms,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an interview with Interfax news agency. “Now Crimea has become part of a state which possesses such weapons in accordance with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
“In accordance with international law,” he added, “Russia has every reason to dispose of its nuclear arsenal … to suit its interests and international legal obligations.”
Russia annexed Crimea following a disputed regional referendum after thousands of Russian troops in unmarked uniforms seized the peninsula.