US warheads move to Romania?


According to the website “EurActiv”, the United States has begun the process of removing its warheads from the “Incirlik" Turkish air force base. The intended destination is the Deveselu base in Romania where components of the US’ missile defense system in Europe are stationed.

Divorcing Turkey

According to the newspaper, the reason behind this step by the United States is the deterioration of relations with Turkey since the failed US-backed coup. The US would like to move the warheads onto the territory of a more reliable ally. This indirectly confirms reports on the possibility of Turkey leaving NATO.

The removal of nuclear weapons from the territory of "Incirlik" cannot take place without Turkey’s consent. 70 tactical nuclear bombs are stockpiled at "Incirlik". However, American military transport aircraft can only be allowed onto the territory of the base with the agreement of Turkish authorities. Following the coup attempt, Turkey introduced a moratorium on any aircraft taking off from or landing at the base.

Why Romania?

The deployment of tactical warheads to Deveselu, an allegedly purely defensive site, is indicative of the base’s double use. Originally an old Soviet air base, in 2016, the Aegis Ashore anti-missile defense complex was established and put into operation. The technical characteristics of this object, as well as the extraterritorial status of the base, allow the US to deploy not only anti-missile projectiles, but also Tomahawk cruise missiles with tactical nuclear warheads aimed at Russia.  Katehon expert Valentin Vasilescu states that:

The W85 nuclear warhead from aviation bomb B-61 can be easily adapted to be mounted on the Tomahawk cruise missile that can be launched from Deveselu.

At the same time, however, the storage of additional nuclear warheads at Deveselu requires the construction of additional infrastructure.

From a political point of view, Romania is a completely controlled US subsidiary with no actual sovereignty. Its geographical proximity to Russia and the Middle East, where tactical nuclear weapons might be used, make it ideal for storage. However, such turn Romania into a legitimate target for Russian nuclear weapons.