Home/ News / World/  Russian envoy dismisses 'western criticism', defends plan to deploy nukes

The Russian Ambassador to Belarus, Boris Gryzlov, said that Russia would deploy tactical nuclear weapons near Belarus' border with NATO countries despite ‘western criticism’, Los Angeles Times reported.

According to Gryzlov, the nuclear weapons would be moved up close to the Western border of the "union state" between Russia and Belarus, although he did not specify a precise location.

"As for the topic of tactical nuclear weapons on the territory of Belarus, I believe that this is not just an escalation of the situation, but the possibility of an exchange. It will expand our defence capability, and it will be done regardless of all the noise in Europe and the United States," he said in a reference to Western criticism of Russian President Vladimir Putin's decision.

According to ABC News, Russian President Vladimir Putin has stated his intention to deploy tactical nuclear weapons in the territory of Belarus, a neighbouring country and ally of Russia.

Putin indicated that the construction of storage facilities for these weapons in Belarus will be finished by July 1, and he also revealed that Russia has assisted in modernizing Belarusian warplanes, making them capable of carrying nuclear weapons.

Russia and Belarus have an agreement that includes plans for close economic, political, and military cooperation.

However, Russia's use of Belarusian territory as a staging ground for invading Ukraine and the presence of Russian troops and weapons in Belarus have led to increased tensions in the region. Belarus shares a border of 1,250 kilometres with NATO members Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland, which has raised concerns about potential security threats.

Tactical nuclear weapons are designed to eliminate enemy troops and weapons on the battlefield and have a shorter range and lower yield compared to long-range strategic missiles that can obliterate entire cities.

The deployment of tactical nuclear weapons by Russia to Belarus would place them closer to potential targets in Ukraine, as well as NATO members in Eastern and Central Europe.

This development is likely to increase tensions in the region, raising concerns about potential security threats and the escalation of the conflict in Ukraine.

Earlier in late March, Belarus blamed "unprecedented pressure" from the United States, Great Britain and their NATO allies for the decision to host Russian tactical weapons in its territory, according to the statement released by Belarus' Foreign Ministry in response to TASS agency's question.

According to the statement, Belarus said, "Over the past two and a half years, the Republic of Belarus has been subjected to unprecedented political, economic and informational pressure from the United States, Great Britain and their NATO allies, as well as the member states of the European Union."

Meanwhile, Yevgeny Prigozhin, founder of Russia's Wagner Group, claimed to have captured Ukraine's Bakhmut city hall and hoisted the Russian flag on Monday.

According to TASS, Prigozhin said that they have technically captured the building, and the Russian flag is in memory of Vladlen Tatarsky, a Russian military reporter who died in a blast in St Petersburg on Sunday. The flag bears the words "In grateful memory."

Prigozhin said, "April 2, 23:00 precisely. Behind me is the building of [Artyomovsk's] city administration. This Russian flag is for Vladlen Tatarsky, [the Russian military reporter killed in a blast in St Petersburg on Sunday]," according to the TASS agency citing the Telegram channel of the Wagner Group founder's press service. "In grateful memory," is written on this flag.

(With ANI inputs)

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Updated: 03 Apr 2023, 11:31 AM IST
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