The United States has responded cautiously to Russia’s decision to put nuclear weapons in Belarus.
A Russian news agency reported Saturday that Vladimir Putin had signed a deal to place tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus.
Ten aircraft that can carry the armaments, which are intended for use on the battlefield rather than to destroy cities, have been reportedly moved there.
Ukraine war-live updates: US monitoring Situation’ in Belarus
This is the first time that Russia has had such weapons outside of the country since the mid-1990s.
A senior US official said that there were no indications that Moscow intends to use the weapons.
“We haven’t seen any reason to alter our strategic nuclear position nor indications that Russia is preparing for a nuclear attack.
“We are committed to the collective defense of the NATO alliance.”
The move was warned by Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the top security advisor to Ukraine’s President.
“The Kremlin took Belarus to be a nuclear hostage,” Oleksiy Danilov (head of Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council) wrote on Twitter.
“No violation” of the nuclear treaty
According to Russian news agency Tass, Putin claimed that the decision would not be in violation of nuclear non-proliferation arrangements, since the US has such weapons already stationed in Europe.
This refers to an international treaty that aims to prevent the spread of nuclear arms – keeping them from reaching countries that don’t have them.
However, Putin stated that the Russians would continue to control the weapons stationed in Belarus. Belarus does not possess nuclear arms.
“This is not unusual: First, this has been done by the United States for many decades. “They have been deploying their tactical nuclear weapons on territory of their allied nations for a long time,” Putin stated to state television.
“We all agreed to do the same, but without violating any of our obligations, I emphasize, and without violating any international obligations regarding the non-proliferation nuclear weapons.”
According to the Centre for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, there are approximately 100 US nuclear warheads located at US air bases across the continent. This includes the Netherlands, Germany, and Turkey.
Russia’s dependence on Belarus
Tensions have grown in the conflict in Ukraine following heavy supplies of Western weaponry Kyiv and Moscow. The Russian government has changed its rhetoric about its military operation from “demilitarisation” of its neighbor to “fighting “the collective West.”
This deal is yet another indication of the Kremlin’s dependence on Belarus during the war in Ukraine.
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Both Mr Putin and Alexander Lukashenko, the Belarusian President, have visited each other in their capital cities.
Belarus also provided support to Russian troops and helped with injuries. It has allowed Russia to use its territory for air and land attacks.