(DCWatchdog.com) – The US-led NATO alliance has slammed Russia’s leader Vladimir Putin for his plans to send tactical nuclear weapons to Moscow’s western neighbor Belarus.
NATO’s criticism comes after, on Saturday, Putin confirmed Russian tactical nukes would be stationed in its ally after a deal with Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko.
Putin’s move is deemed a further nuclear threat towards the West occurred 13 months after he sent Russia’s military and mercenary groups to invade Ukraine in a seeming attempt to resurrect the former Soviet empire.
The Russian leader declared that the placing of Moscow’s nukes in Belarus would be similar to the stationing of US nuclear weapons in Europe during the Cold War, Newsmax reported.
He claimed the move wouldn’t violate Russia’s commitment to nuclear non-proliferation, although it remains unclear whether he wouldn’t practically transfer weapons of mass destruction to his ally Lukashenko.
Even though US officials in Washington, DC, seemed to downplay worries about Putin’s actions in Belarus, the NATO alliance said Russia would violate the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, while the comparisons with the US nuclear deployments in Europe were inadequate.
“Russia’s reference to NATO’s nuclear sharing is totally misleading. NATO allies act with full respect of their international commitments,” a NATO spokesperson said told Reuters over email.
“Russia has consistently broken its arms control commitments,” the spokesperson added.
US government officials made it clear that basing Russian nukes in Belarus wouldn’t affect the possibility of Moscow using them. The US government and NATO said the development wouldn’t change the West’s nuclear position.
“We have not seen any changes in Russia’s nuclear posture that would lead us to adjust our own,” the NATO spokesperson wrote.
The Reuters report notes that “tactical nuclear weapons” refers to nukes that might be used for “specific gains on a battlefield” instead of a means to wipe out entire cities. The number of Russia’s tactical nukes is unknown.
Republican US Rep. Michael McCaul, who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee, stated in Washington, DC, that Putin’s sending of tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus sought to scare the West.
“I think this is saber-rattling on the part of Putin basically to try to frighten. These tactical nukes are disturbing,” McCaul told Fox News.
The Institute for the Study of War, a think-tank based in Washington, declared that the risk of escalation to nuclear war “remains extremely low.”
Meanwhile, Ukraine’s foreign ministry called for a special meeting of the UN Security Council, asking the global community to “take decisive measures” to prevent Russia from using nuclear weapons.
“Russia once again confirms its chronic inability to be a responsible steward of nuclear weapons as a means of deterrence and prevention of war, not as a tool of threats and intimidation,” Ukraine’s government stated.
NATO on Sunday criticized Vladimir Putin for what it called his "dangerous and irresponsible" nuclear rhetoric, a day after the Russian president said he would station tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus. https://t.co/7m7Ae1bwko
— NEWSMAX (@NEWSMAX) March 26, 2023