In light of Putin’s setting up shop in Belarus, US refuses to believe he will use nuclear weapons

Sursa: TASS

Yesterday, Vladimir Putin publicly declared Moscow’s intention of placing tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus. A small number of Iskander tactical missile systems, which can be used to launch nuclear weapons, have already been transferred to Belarus, Russia will being training crews to operate from next week on, and the construction of a storage facility for tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus will be completed by July 1st, Putin declared.

In response, the US has stated it does not believe Russia is preparing to use nuclear weapons, though Reuters has remarked that it is Putin’s „most pronounced nuclear signal” since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Nato, meanwhile, has condemned Russia’s „dangerous” and „irresponsible” rhetoric after Vladimir Putin’s decision to station tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, reports the BBC.

The organisation is „closely monitoring” the situation and stated that the move would not lead it to change its own nuclear strategy.

Belarus shares a long border with Ukraine, as well as with Nato members Poland, Lithuania and Latvia.

Reuters specifies that „Tactical” nuclear weapons refer to those used for specific gains on a battlefield rather than those with the capacity to wipe out cities. It is unclear how many such weapons Russia has, given it is an area still shrouded in Cold War secrecy.

Ukraine has called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to address the potential threat of President Putin’s announcement on Saturday.Ukraine says the move violates nuclear non-proliferation agreements – an accusation President Putin has denied, instead comparing it to the US stationing its weapons in Europe.

The military alliance also accused Russia of consistently breaking its own arms control commitments, including the country’s decision to suspend the new START treaty – a deal signed in 2010 which limits the number of US and Russian nuclear warheads and gives each the power to inspect the other’s weapons, says BBC.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell urged Belarus to opt out of the deal with Putin, warning the country could face further sanctions if it went through with it.

On Sunday, a top security adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Russia of making Belarus a „nuclear hostage”. Yuriy Sak, an adviser to Ukraine’s ministry of defence, remarked that the deployment in Belarus would not change the outcome of the war.

„They cannot win this war because it is for them unsustainable, it is unwinnable, [and] they cannot defeat Ukraine because we have been living with the hypothetical threat of a possible nuclear strike from day one of the large-scale invasion”, he mused.

Analysts at the US think tank Institute for War said the risk of escalation to nuclear war following the announcement remained „extremely low”.

The announcement comes only days after Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Moscow, during which Russia and China issued a joint statement saying „all nuclear powers must not deploy their nuclear weapons beyond their national territories, and they must withdraw all nuclear weapons deployed abroad”.

Nuclear threat looms somber once again, as Putin spreads his tentacles to Belarus


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