Sweden and Poland also pressed Moscow to withdraw its nuclear weapons from areas adjacent to EU member states.
“We today call on the leaders of the United States and Russia to commit themselves to early measures to greatly reduce so-called tactical nuclear weapons in Europe,” Sweden’s Carl Bildt and Poland’s Radek Sikorski write in the International Herald Tribune.
“We understand that Russia is a European power, but we urge Moscow to make a commitment to the withdrawal of nuclear weapons from areas adjacent to European Union member states,” they continued, mentioning Russia’s European enclave Kaliningrad and the northern Kola peninsula.
Russia and the United States on Monday resumed marathon talks in Geneva to renew the key Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) nuclear disarmament treaty which expired in December.
The talks concern strategic nuclear warheads but not the less powerful tactical weapons, destined to wipe out smaller targets.
“While the strategic nuclear weapons are seen as a mutual threat by the United States and Russia, nations like ours — Sweden and Poland — could have stronger reason to be concerned with the large number of those tactical weapons,” Bildt and Sikorski argue.
Quoting a report by the International Commission on Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament, the ministers said the United States have approximately 200 nuclear warheads stored in western Europe while Russia holds around 2,000, the vast majority in the west of the country.
On January 27, the United States said talks with Russia on a new nuclear arms pact were “nearly complete.”