Moscow, 26 March 2023 (GNP): President Vladimir Putin was cited on Saturday by the Tass news agency as stating that Russia and its neighbor Belarus had agreed on a plan to install tactical nuclear weapons on Belarusian soil.
This deal marks Moscow’s current effort to inflame tensions with the US and NATO over the invasion of Ukraine by threatening nuclear war.
Putin said that the United States had nuclear weapons deployed on the soil of European allies, so such a move would not be in violation of nuclear nonproliferation treaties.
The deployment of tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, which borders Poland, has long been a concern for Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, Putin claimed.
According to Tass, Putin stated that he and Lukashenko “agreed that we would place tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus without violating the nonproliferation regime”.
Putin claimed that Russia would not give Belarus control of its tactical nuclear weapons or go against its nuclear non-proliferation agreements, but the decision marks one of the Kremlin’s most important moves with its weapons since its invasion of Ukraine more than a year ago.
According to him, “There is nothing unusual here: first of all, the US has been doing this for decades. They placed their tactical nuclear weapons in six different allied NATO countries in Europe”.
“They have tactical nuclear weapons in certain countries, prepare the delivery systems, and train the crews. We’re planning to do the same thing, without, I stress, violating our international non-proliferation obligations,” he added.
The UK revealed earlier this week that it had sent Ukraine anti-tank rounds containing depleted uranium.
The Russian president claimed he made the choice in response to that declaration and portrayed it as part of a nuclear escalation of the conflict.
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Putin said on Saturday that if Kyiv acquires such weapons from the West, he would use depleted uranium ammo.
When asked how Moscow would react if the West sent Ukraine the depleted uranium shells, Putin responded that Russia possessed a huge stockpile of weapons.
Putin asserted in a television appearance that, “Russia of course has what it needs to answer. Without exaggeration, we have hundreds of thousands of such shells. We have not used them yet.”
The rounds, which are valued for their ability to penetrate armor and are dense than lead, are only used in conventional warfare, according to the US and the UK, who rejected Putin’s allegation.
Speaking on behalf of the US National Security Council, Adrienne Watson said there are no indications that Russia is planning to use nuclear weapons.
“We have not seen any reason to adjust our own strategic nuclear posture nor any indications Russia is preparing to use a nuclear weapon,” Watson said.
“We remain committed to the collective defense of the NTTO alliance”, she added.
Putin has frequently threatened to protect Russia’s territorial acquisitions with “all the means at our disposal” and warned against western military help for Ukraine.
He said that 10 Belarusian aircraft with the potential to carry tactical nuclear weapons had already been stationed.
Russia would start instructing Belarusian personnel in April on the Iskander missile complex which is capable of carrying tactical nuclear warheads, claimed Putin.