The Federal Foreign Office accuses Russian President Putin of “nuclear intimidation”. Belarus has committed to remain free of nuclear weapons. According to the Pentagon, there is no evidence that Russia is preparing to use the weapons.
The announcement by Russian President Vladimir Putin that nuclear weapons would be stationed in neighboring Belarus was met with criticism from the German government. In the Foreign Office in Berlin on Saturday evening there was talk of a “further attempt at nuclear intimidation”.
It went on to say: “President Putin’s comparison to NATO’s nuclear sharing is misleading and cannot serve to justify the step announced by Russia.” In addition, Belarus has made several declarations internationally that it will be free of nuclear weapons.
Putin announced on state television in the evening that Russia and Belarus had agreed to station tactical nuclear weapons. The Kremlin chief pointed out that the United States also has nuclear weapons stationed with allies in Europe. “We’re just doing what they’ve been doing for decades,” Putin said.
USA: Monitoring situation after Putin’s announcement
For now, the US government sees no need for action. “We have seen no reason to adjust our own strategic nuclear stance, nor any evidence that Russia is preparing to use a nuclear weapon,” said National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson. The impact of Putin’s announcement will be monitored. In addition, the United States remained committed to NATO’s collective defense. The US Department of Defense is monitoring the situation.
Campaign Against Nuclear Weapons: “Extremely Dangerous Escalation”
From the point of view of the Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), the stationing of Russian nuclear weapons in Belarus could lead to catastrophe. The Nobel Prize-winning organization in Geneva warned that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s plan was an “extremely dangerous escalation”. This increases the likelihood that such weapons will be used. “In the context of the Ukraine war, the risk of misjudgment or misinterpretation is extremely high.”
The organization recalled that the Nuclear Weapons Prohibition Treaty (TPNW) prohibits states from allowing foreign nuclear weapons on their territory. The agreement passed in 2017 has so far been signed by 92 countries. Russia and Belarus are not among them. States with US nuclear weapons bases – Germany, Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey – also did not agree.