Amid the escalating tensions between Russia and the West over the ongoing war in Ukraine, Russian President Vladmir Putin has announced that Moscow will place nuclear weapons in Belarus, a latest Reuters report says. The move is seen as the most direct warning to NATO since the war began in February last year. While the escalation will add to the tension, the US has reacted extremely cautiously on the subject.
A senior official in the Joe Biden administration says that the US has no conclusive evidence that Russia is indeed planning to station nukes in Belarus. Russia maintains that it is merely reacting to the US action of placing its nuclear weapons in Europe. Moscow says that while the nuclear weapons will be placed in Belarus, the control will remain with Russian authorities. This is the first time since mid-90s that Russia has stationed its nuclear weapons outside its country.
Putin says that the move will not violate any ‘obligations on the nonproliferation of nukes. According to a state TV, the Russian president said that there was nothing ‘unusual’ about stationing tactical weapons in Belarus. He reportedly that the US has been doing this for several decades now.
The war in Ukraine, which began as a ‘special military operations’ on part of Russia has now transformed into an all-out battle between Moscow and the West after several nations started supplying heavy weaponary to Kyiv. Now, instead of demilitarizing its neighbour, Russia is focussing on defeating the ‘collective’ West.
Even as the Moscow’s latest announcement has sent the alarm bells ringing, Putin has yet not specified as to when exactly will Russia deploy nuclear weapons in Belarus. The nation shares its borders with three NATO members – Latvia, Poland and Lithuania. As per Russian state TV, Putin has said that teh storage facility for nuclear weapons will be constructed by July 1st.