US 'sold UK nuke secrets to Russia' as quid pro quo for "New START" deal: Wikileaks

Last Updated: Sat, Feb 05, 2011 06:30 hrs

The US has sold British nuclear secrets as a 'bargaining chip' to persuade Russia to sign the key arms control treaty, the latest secret US diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks have revealed.

U.S. President Barack Obama will sign the deal next week allowing Moscow to receive information about Britain's Trident missiles, which are manufactured and maintained in America, the Daily Mail reports.

The paper quoted the cables as saying that the arms control deal could undermine Britain's policy of not confirming the numbers of missiles.

A series of classified messages sent to Washington by American negotiators indicate that information on Britain's nuclear capability was crucial to securing Russia's support for the "New START" deal, the paper said.

On being urged by Russia to provide them with more information on the UK Trident programme, Washington had reportedly asked London for permission to hand over details about the UK missiles' performance.

Following Britain's refusal to the proposal, Washington had reportedly agreed to give the serial numbers of missiles it transfers to Britain.

The paper quoted Duncan Lennox, editor of Jane's Strategic Weapons Systems, as saying that Russians "want to find out whether Britain has more missiles than we say we have, and having the unique identifiers might help them." (ANI)