Putin says Russia will deploy tactical nukes to neighbors


White House official says there are no signs Putin has ‘delivered on this promise’

A senior White House official said on Sunday there was no indication that Russia would deploy nuclear weapons in nearby Belarus after Russian President Vladimir Putin pledged to do so a day earlier.

When asked about Putin’s comments, John Kirby, the White House’s strategic communications coordinator, said, “We have seen no indication that he has fulfilled this pledge or moved a nuclear weapon.” .

Not unexpectedly, the plan is one of Russia’s clearest nuclear signals since it launched its invasion of Ukraine 13 months ago, and Ukrainian officials have responded by asking the UN Security Council to I called for a meeting of the society. Washington, another of the world’s nuclear superpowers, downplayed concerns over Putin’s announcement, but NATO said his explanations about Russia’s non-proliferation pledge and US overseas deployments missed the point. .

“Russia’s reference to NATO nuclear sharing is completely misleading. NATO allies are acting in full respect of their international commitments,” NATO spokesman Oana Lungescu said. “Russia has consistently broken its arms control promises,” he added, speaking to Reuters on Sunday.

At a state television event, Putin revealed plans to deploy tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, which borders Russia, Poland, Ukraine, Latvia and Lithuania. The Russian leader has said his troops will control all weapons stationed in Belarus.The weapons were partly used by Russian forces to support last year’s invasion of Ukraine.

According to the Associated Press and other news outlets, Putin said on Saturday night that he was “doing what they’ve been doing for decades, including stationing them in certain allies, preparing launch platforms, and training crews.” “We are going to do the same thing.”

Tactical nuclear weapons refer to those that are used for specific gains on the battlefield rather than those that have the ability to wipe out cities. It is unclear how many such weapons Russia has, as Russia remains a region shrouded in Cold War secrecy.

Putin told Russian 24TV that Belarus’ nuclear facilities would be ready by 1 July. He did not say exactly when the weapons would be sent to Belarus.

However, Washington appears to see no change in the likelihood that Russia will use nuclear weapons in a war in Ukraine, and Washington and NATO believe that this news will not affect their own nuclear positions. said no.

“We haven’t seen any changes in Russia’s nuclear arsenal that would require an adjustment,” Rungescu said.

But Ukrainian officials have issued a warning that Putin’s recent statements undermine decades of nuclear disarmament efforts and the “international security system as a whole,” according to a statement released by Ukraine’s foreign ministry on Sunday. said to be a thing.

Epoch Times photo
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko walk during a meeting in Sochi, Russia, May 23, 2022. (Sputnik/Ramil Sitdikov/Kremlin via Reuters)

“Ukraine appeals to the Belarusian community to prevent it from carrying out its criminal intent to deploy nuclear weapons in Belarus in violation of its obligations under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, which further turns the country into a Kremlin hostage. , will have devastating consequences “for its future,” the ministry said. SaidThe ministry also called for a UN Security Council meeting on the possibility of nuclear deployment.

The ministry “demands that an extraordinary session of the UN Security Council be convened immediately for this purpose,” the ministry said, adding that the Kiev government called for Russia’s nuclear program to be “maximally unacceptable to all members of the international community.” He added that he asked them to “tell the members.”

Putin said on Saturday that Belarus’s longtime president, Alexander Lukashenko, had long requested the dispatch.There was no immediate public reaction from Lukashenko.

The Belarusian army has never officially fought in Ukraine, but Minsk and Moscow have close military ties. It is not clear whether Belarus will send its own troops to Ukraine.

According to Russian state media, Lukashenko has repeatedly claimed that European Union countries and the United States pose a nuclear threat to Belarus. Last October, he claimed that the US and Poland would engage in “nuclear sharing” and that US nuclear weapons would be deployed in Poland.

Reuters contributed to this report.