US to store nuclear weapons in new RAF facility as Nato countries warned to prepare for Putin conflict

27 January 2024, 00:09

It comes as fears of a conflict with Russia escalate
It comes as fears of a conflict with Russia escalate. Picture: Alamy/Getty
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

The United States will store nuclear weapons in the UK for the first time in 15 years, Pentagon documents reveal.

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Contracts for a new facility at RAF Lakenheath, Suffolk, detail US plans to place nuclear weapons three times the strength of the Hiroshima bomb at the base, The Telegraph reports.

There have been no US nuclear weapons in the UK since 2008, when it was decided threats from the Cold War era had been reduced.

It comes as several Nato members face warnings about bolstering their militaries in the event of an armed conflict, most likely with Russia.

This includes the UK, where the head of the British Army said Brits would face being called up in the event of a war as our military is 'too small'.

RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk
RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk. Picture: Alamy
Russian President Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin. Picture: Alamy

It follows a warning by a senior Nato official that the West faces all-out war with Russia within 20 years.

Admiral Rob Bauer said that although Nato and member governments are readying themselves for conflict with Vladimir Putin's regime, civilians must realise that they also have a role to play.

He told reporters last week that civilians would have to be mobilised in large numbers if war broke out, and governments would have to prepare for how to manage that process.

Read More: Putin warns UK's Nato allies 'you don't understand what will follow' in chilling new threat amid fear of war with Russia

Read More: Brits aged up to 60 face conscription, former top military general warns, as Whitehall draws up plans for 'volunteer army'

While General Sir Patrick Sanders chief does not support conscription in the British army, he said he does believe there needs to be a "shift" in the mindset of regular Brits.

Sir Patrick wants regular Brits to 'think more like troops' in case all-out war with Russia does break out.

He called for a Finnish-style 'citizen army', which would be made up of 500,000 people, including soldiers, reserves and eventually, volunteers and regular citizens.

British General Sir Patrick Sanders, Chief of the General Staff
British General Sir Patrick Sanders, Chief of the General Staff. Picture: Alamy

Meanwhile, Sweden, which is readying itself to enter the Nato alliance later this year, has also warned its citizens it could soon be fighting in all-out war.

The country's defence minister Carl-Oskar Bohlin recently told citizens: "The world is facing a security outlook with greater risks than at any time since the end of the Second World War.

"Are you a private individual? Have you considered whether you have time to join a voluntary defence organisation? If not: get moving!"

Mr Bohlin's words have sparked a rush to join volunteer organisations and are said to have increased sales of torches and battery-powered radios.

Donald Trump is not fully committed to Nato
Donald Trump is not fully committed to Nato. Picture: Getty

The Government has defended the British military and its position as the second-largest spender in Nato.

No10 was also forced to confirm it would not be introducing conscription in the event of war breaking out.

There are also concerns about the potential return of Donald Trump to the White House after this year's election.

The former US President has slammed EU countries for 'relying too heavily on America' when it comes to military spending.

He previously said he would not come to Europe's defence if it was attacked, despite Nato's commitment to act as one if one member state is attacked.

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