Russia has started deploying tactical nuclear weapons-armed vessels in the Baltic Sea for the first time in three decades, according to a Norwegian intelligence report.
The annual report released by the Norwegian Intelligence Service states that the vessels belonged to Russia’s Northern Fleet, reported The New Voice of Ukraine.
The fleet’s warships regularly went to sea with nuclear weapons during the Soviet era, but this is the first time the Russian Federation has deployed them, the report stated.
“The key part of the nuclear potential is on the submarines and surface ships of the Northern Fleet,” it said.
“Tactical nuclear weapons are a particularly serious threat in several operational scenarios in which Nato countries may be involved.”
The intel report added that Russia also has submarine capabilities, anti-satellite weapons, and cyber capabilities that could threaten Norway.
The report comes ahead of Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine touches the one-year mark on 24 February.
The Norwegian intelligence report stated that the deployment of the vessels imply that Russia will continue to pose a threat to Norway and Nato.
“The ongoing tensions between Russia and the West mean that Russia will continue to pose the greatest nuclear threat to Nato, and therefore to Norway,” it said.
“It cannot be ruled out that a localised war could escalate into a wider conflict with direct military involvement of Russia, the United States, Nato, and Norway.”
Ukraine on Wednesday urged its allies to speed up the pace of military aid as Nato defence ministers prepared to meet for a second day on Wednesday.
“That is why speed is of the essence,” Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky said as Nato defence chiefs met in Brussels for two days of talks that continue on Wednesday. “Speed in everything – adopting decisions, carrying out decisions, shipping supplies, training. Speed saves people’s lives.”
Russia has intensified attacks across a swathe of southern and eastern Ukraine in recent weeks.
The Russian Defence Ministry said on Telegram that its troops had broken through two fortified lines of Ukrainian defences on the eastern front. Russia has called its war in Ukraine a “special military operation” and accused Nato of interfering.
Mr Putin has also issued warnings over the last year against “nuclear blackmail”, implying that he could be attempt to respond to threats with his own arsenal.