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NATO: Deploying nuclear weapons in Belarus ‘dangerous and irresponsible’


Yesterday, NATO condemned the Russian rhetoric about deploying tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, considering it dangerous and irresponsible, while Ukraine called for an emergency session of the UN Security Council to confront the potential threat.

“NATO is cautious and we are watching the situation closely,” said NATO spokeswoman Oana Lunescu, adding: “We have not seen any changes in the Russian nuclear position that would prompt us to modify our position.”

For its part, Ukraine denounced Russian President Vladimir Putin’s plan to deploy tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, and the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry called for an emergency session of the United Nations Security Council to confront the potential threat.

Secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council Oleksiy Danilov said the plan would destabilize Belarus and accused Moscow of “holding Minsk hostage”.

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the decision the day before yesterday, and said that this step would not violate his country’s commitments to limiting the spread of nuclear weapons, and Putin likened his plan to what the United States did by deploying weapons in Europe, and said that his country would not transfer control of those weapons to Minsk .

“We will not hand over weapons,” Putin said. The United States also does not hand over weapons to its allies. We’re basically doing the same thing they’ve been doing for a decade.”

It will be the first time since the mid-1990s that Russia has deployed such weapons outside its territory.

Washington, the world’s other nuclear superpower, played down concerns about Putin’s announcement and the possibility of Moscow using nuclear weapons in the war in Ukraine.

Reuters quoted a senior US administration official as saying: “We see no reason to modify our strategic nuclear policy, nor any indications that Russia is preparing to use a nuclear weapon. We remain committed to the common defense of NATO,” noting that Moscow and Minsk have been talking about transferring nuclear weapons for some time.

The term tactical nuclear weapons refers to weapons that are used to achieve specific gains on the battlefield rather than weapons with the capacity to annihilate cities. It is not clear how many weapons Russia has of this type, since this matter has been shrouded in secrecy since the Cold War.

In addition, Putin said in remarks broadcast on Russian television yesterday that Russia and China are not working to establish a military alliance, adding that military cooperation between the two countries is transparent.

The comments came days after Putin hosted his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, in the Kremlin. Putin and Xi reaffirmed the friendship between the two countries and pledged to boost relations, including in the military field.

In his televised remarks, Putin dismissed suggestions that Moscow’s growing ties with Beijing in sectors such as energy and finance meant that Russia had become overly dependent on China, saying these were the opinions of “jealous people”.

He added, “For decades, many have wanted to pit China against the Soviet Union and Russia, and vice versa. We understand the world in which we live. We really appreciate our mutual relations and the level they have reached in recent years.”

Putin accused the United States and NATO of seeking to form a new axis that he said was somewhat similar to the alliance of Germany, Italy and Japan during World War II, and added that Australia, New Zealand and South Korea were ready to join NATO.

Putin confirmed the existence of threats in the supply of Western weapons to Ukraine, indicating that Moscow is fully aware of these supplies, and said: “Of course there are threats when weapons are supplied to a country with which we are in conflict.”

On the other hand, the Russian news agency Tass quoted officials of law enforcement agencies as saying that a drone was behind an explosion that occurred yesterday, injuring two people and leaving a crater in the city center of Kirievsk, about 220 km south of Moscow.