Former Dutch Prime Minister Ruud Lubbers admitted Monday that 22 US nuclear bombs were being kept in a storeroom at the Volkel airbase in the Netherlands — backing up evidence released by WikiLeaks attesting to their existence.
Lubbers, who served as prime minister from 1982 to 1994, confirmed that the weapons existed while speaking in a National Geographic documentary.
"I would never have thought those silly things would still be there in 2013," said Lubbers, according to UPI. "I think they are an absolutely pointless part of a tradition in military thinking."
The comment makes him the most senior Dutch government official to confirm what many regarded as a long-standing open secret.
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The weapons are thought to be B61 gravity bombs, according to The New York Times, a type of tactical thermonuclear gravity bomb that's designed to be carried by aircraft.
The weapons were first alluded to publicly by a Wikileaks cable late in 2009, which discussed the potential withdrawal of US weapons from European turf.
"For example, a withdrawal of nuclear weapons from Germany and perhaps from Belgium and the Netherlands could make it very difficult politically for Turkey to maintain its own stockpile, even though it was still convinced of the need to do so," wrote US Ambassador Philip Murphy in November 2009.