>> The Americans are shamelessly threatening Russia with a new atomic weapon. That's the criticism from Iran's President Hassan Rouhani on Sunday. It comes days after Washington published a policy document outlining plans to expand its nuclear capabilities. The aim, US officials argue, is to deter other powers, particularly Russia, from using nuclear weapons.
It's a sign that the Pentagon's shifting priorities from the fight against Islamist militants to, quote, great power competition with Moscow and Beijing.>>
> United States officials say Russia perceives the US' nuclear capabilities as inadequate. The plan is to increase the stockpile of low-yield nuclear weapons, which have a strength of less than 20 kilotons.
Around the same explosive power as the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. The argument for these weapons is that larger nuclear bombs are so catastrophic that they would never be used and do not work as an effective deterrent. With less power and destruction, the low-yield option would potentially be more likely to be used.
But some critic say it's a move that could increase the risk of miscalculation between the two countries. Russia's foreign ministry said it was disappointed by the contents of the document, called The Nuclear Posture Review, which it claimed has a confrontational feel and anti-Russian orientation. And China has also been critical, urging the US to drop its, quote, Cold War mentality.