(QHA) -

Russia says it has the right to place nuclear weapons on the Crimean Peninsula, Mikhail Ulyanovsk, head of the Foreign Ministry's Department on Arms Control, said on March 11.

The offcial does not know "if there are nuclear weapons" in Crimea now and is unaware of any plans by the Russian government to deploy them on the peninsula, "but in principle Russia can do it."

Crimea unified with Russia a year ago in a move condemned by Western countries and the United Nations.

Ukraine agreed in 1994 to give up it nuclear arsenal -- the third-largest in the world -- in exchange for security guarantees from Russia, the United States, and Great Britain.

Western military officials have expressed concern over the possibility that Russia could deploy nuclear weapons in Crimea.