Belarus will host Russian “tactical” nuclear weapons in response to “unprecedented” “Western” pressure, the Belarusian foreign ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.
“Belarus has been facing unprecedented pressure (…) for two and a half years from the United States, Great Britain and their allies,” indicates the Belarusian diplomat, who denounces the “direct and gross interference” in Minsk’s internal affairs.
And she added that the economic and political sanctions against this former Soviet republic allied with Russia are accompanied by “strengthening the military capabilities” of NATO on the territory of the member states of the alliance neighboring Belarus.
In this context, Belarus is “forced to take response measures”, as the Belarusian diplomacy insisted, emphasizing that Minsk will not take control of these weapons and that their deployment “does not in any way contradict Articles I and II of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty” .
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced, on Saturday, that he had the Minsk agreement to deploy “tactical” nuclear weapons in Belarus, a country located at the gates of the European Union and led since 1994 by Alexander Lukashenko, his closest ally.
According to the Russian president, preparations for this deployment should begin next month.
The announcement drew strong criticism from the West, with NATO denouncing “dangerous and irresponsible rhetoric” from Russia, while the European Union threatened Minsk with new sanctions if the deployment was carried out.
The United States reiterated that it had no reason to believe that Russia was preparing to use nuclear weapons, while condemning the Russian declaration.
While Belarus is not directly involved in the conflict in Ukraine, Moscow used its territory to launch its offensive against Kiev last year.
Russian officials have repeatedly issued veiled threats to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine if the conflict escalates significantly.
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