Russia has warned that the new military pact between the US, the UK, and Australia threatens global nuclear non-proliferation.
The pact, known as AUKUS, is a military technology-sharing deal that is meant to counter China. Under the agreement, Australia will get access to technology to build nuclear-powered submarines, which would make Canberra the first non-nuclear armed state to have them.
“It’s a great challenge to the international non-proliferation regime,” said Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov, according to the Russian news agency Tass.
Ryabkov said Russia is “concerned” about the “partnership that will allow Australia, after 18 months of consultations and several years of attempts, to obtain nuclear-powered submarines in sufficient numbers to become one of the top five countries for this type of armaments.”
Ryabkov also said Russia is concerned over the UK’s plans to expand its nuclear arsenal that was announced earlier in the year. “We are concerned especially by the statements produced earlier in the year in London on future prospects for expansion of its nuclear capabilities,” he said.
In March, the British announced that they are increasing their nuclear stockpile for the first time since the Cold War. London will set its cap of nuclear warheads at 260, up from the current limit of 180.