The U.S. has rescheduled the arrival of the upgraded B61-12 air-dropped gravity bomb to NATO bases in Europe from the following spring to December 2022, Politico reported, citing a U.S. diplomatic cable and two people familiar with the matter.
This move comes amid Russian dictator Vladimir Putin's threats to use nuclear weapons against Ukraine. Pentagon spokesman General Patrick Ryder, however, said the change in delivery date is "in no way linked to current events in Ukraine."
The U.S. officials told NATO allies about speeding up the process during a closed-door meeting in Brussels in October, where 15 allies ag the alliance "must not give in to Putin's nuclear blackmail," Politico wrote.
According to Tom Collina, director of policy at disarmament group Ploughshares Fund, this move may be aimed to reassure European allies "when they are feeling particularly threatened." But B61s won't make "much of a difference" and “the Russians know that,” Collina said, according to Politico.