Russia Moves Ahead With Deployment Of Tactical Nuclear Weapons
Russia moved ahead on Thursday with a plan to deploy tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, whose leader said the warheads were already on the move, in the Kremlin’s first deployment of such bombs outside Russia since the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union.
The U.S. State Department denounced the deployment plan but said Washington had no intention of altering its position on strategic nuclear weapons or seen any signs Russia was preparing to use a nuclear weapon.
Russian President Vladimir Putin says the United States and its allies are fighting an expanding proxy war against Russia after the Kremlin chief sent troops into Ukraine 15 months ago.
The plan for the nuclear deployment was announced by Putin in an interview with state television on March 25.
“The collective West is essentially waging an undeclared war against our countries,” Putin’s defence minister, Sergei Shoigu, said at a meeting with his Belarusian counterpart in Minsk, according to Russia’s defence ministry.
The West, Shoigu said, was doing all it could “to prolong and escalate the armed conflict in Ukraine.”
Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said that tactical nuclear weapons were already on the move in accordance with an order signed by Putin, though there was no confirmation of that from the Kremlin itself.
“The movement of the nuclear weapons has already begun,” Lukashenko told reporters in Moscow, where he was attending talks with other leaders of ex-Soviet states.
Asked if the weapons were already in Belarus, he said: “Possibly. When I get back I will check”
Reuters /Shakirat Sadiq