Home/ News / World/  'Dangerous and irresponsible', NATO condemns Russia's nuclear deployment in Belarus amid Ukraine war

As Russia is sending a warning to NATO by stationing tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, NATO on Sunday criticised Russia for its "dangerous and irresponsible" nuclear rhetoric, as reported by Reuters.

"NATO is vigilant, and we are closely monitoring the situation. We have not seen any changes in Russia's nuclear posture that would lead us to adjust our own," a NATO spokesperson said.

It is noteworthy that Belarus shares a border with Ukraine, as well as NATO members Poland, Lithuania, and Latvia.

Moscow's deployment of tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus marks the first time since the mid-1990s that Russia will have stationed nuclear arms outside of its own territory.

“Russia's reference to NATO's nuclear sharing is totally misleading. NATO allies act with full respect of their international commitments. Russia has consistently broken its arms control commitments, most recently suspending its participation in the New START Treaty," a NATO spokesperson further stated.

Earlier, the US, the world's other nuclear superpower reacted cautiously by saying that there were no signs of Moscow using nuclear weapons.

The senior U.S. administration official stressed that Russia and Belarus had been speaking about the transfer of nuclear weapons for some time.

"We have not seen any reason to adjust our own strategic nuclear posture nor any indications Russia is preparing to use a nuclear weapon. We remain committed to the collective defence of the NATO alliance," the official said.

Meanwhile, Kyiv accused Russia of holding Minsk as a "nuclear hostage" following Russian President Vladimir Putin's announcement that tactical nuclear weapons would be deployed to Belarus, Russia's ally.

“The Kremlin took Belarus as a nuclear hostage," the secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council, Oleksiy Danilov, wrote on Twitter, adding that the move was “a step towards the internal destabilisation of the country".

He further stated that this decision increases the level of negative perception and public rejection of Russia and President Putin in Belarusian society.

Ukrainian presidential aide Mykhaylo Podolyak has accused Vladimir Putin of violating the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and resorting to “scare" tactics.

According to a report by AFP, Germany has criticized Russian President Vladimir Putin's decision to deploy tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, which brings these weapons closer to the European Union.

The announcement was "another attempt at nuclear intimidation by Russia", an official in the foreign office told AFP.

Germany would not allow itself to be "put off our course" by Moscow's move, the source said on condition of anonymity.

"The comparison made by President Putin to nuclear sharing in NATO is misleading and does not justify the step announced by Russia," the source said.

The decision to station tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus was announced shortly after the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Moscow, where Russia and China issued a joint statement calling, "all nuclear powers must not deploy their nuclear weapons beyond their national territories, and they must withdraw all nuclear weapons deployed abroad."

As per a report by AFP, Kyiv on Sunday said it was seeking an emergency meeting of the United Nation's Security Council to counter Russia's "nuclear blackmail" after President Vladimir Putin announced his country would station tactical nuclear arms in Belarus.

"Ukraine expects effective actions to counteract the Kremlin's nuclear blackmail from the United Kingdom, China, the United States and France," the Ukrainian foreign ministry said.

"We demand that an extraordinary meeting of the UN Security Council be immediately convened for this purpose," it added.

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Updated: 26 Mar 2023, 09:08 PM IST
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