Nearly 100,000 people in Germany have signed a petition protesting a plan to introduce U.S. nuclear weapons on German soil. The U.S. military was supposed to place new weapons in the country toward the end of 2015, but a statement from officials said that the transfer would likely take place closer to 2020.
However, this has not stopped the mass petition from moving forward, according to report by Russian state news site Sputnik. “Since this is about strengthening offensive weapons, we call on the federal government, the Parliament, the chancellor and the federal president to stop nuclear armaments on German soil,” the petition said.
Russia had previously raised concerns over the plan, with the government claiming that the move would contravene the Treaty of Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons, which was ratified by 191 nations in 1970 to stop the spread of nuclear weapons.
"We are concerned that these states actually have nuclear weapons as part of the framework of NATO's nuclear sharing program," said Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova in an interview with Germany’s ZDF television, according to Sputnik. “The Americans are modernizing their aerial bombs, and the NATO European members are modernizing their aircraft that carry these weapons.”
The U.S. continues to maintain nuclear carrying facilities in Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy and Turkey through a NATO sharing program. Host countries make decisions on weapons policy, maintain equipment required for the use of nuclear weapons and carry out consultations. France and the United Kingdom are the only countries in Europe that maintain state-owned nuclear arsenals.
In March 2010, a majority of German MPs decided that the government should "urge American allies to withdraw US nuclear weapons from Germany." But instead of eliminating the weapons, the U.S. made plans to deploy 20 more, according to Sputnik.