(DCWatchdog.com) – Ukraine has urged an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council after Russia’s leader Vladimir Putin confirmed plans for sending some of Moscow’s tactical nuclear weapons to its ally Belarus.
Ukraine, which has been fighting off a full-fledged Russian military invasion for 13 months now, borders Russia to the east and Belarus to the north.
Belarus, a nation of the size of Kansas and about as populous as New Jersey (at about 9 million people), has been a staunch ally of Moscow. Its leader Alexander Lukashenko has been in power for 28 years, while Putin has ruled Russia for 22 years.
In comments over the weekend, Russia’s president confirmed reports of planning to base tactical Russian nukes in its western neighbor Belarus.
His announcement was framed as a “warning to Western countries, according to Fox News.
The Moscow leader revealed the construction of nuclear weapon storage facilities in Belarus would be completed by early July. Belarus borders three US allies within the NATO alliance – Poland, Latvia, and Lithuania.
In his remarks, Putin insisted that his government was only adopting the same policies as the United States with its Cold War nuclear weapons deployments in European allies.
“We are doing what they have been doing for decades, stationing them in certain allied countries, preparing the launch platforms and training their crews,” Putin declared on state television.
Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry reacted to his words by calling upon the United Nations Security Council members and the wider international community to help counter Russia’s “nuclear blackmail.”
It declared that the Moscow leader had turned Belarus into Moscow’s “nuclear hostage.”
“Ukraine expects effective action to counter the Kremlin’s nuclear blackmail by the UK, China, the US and France,” the Ukrainian government’s statement read.
“The world must be united against someone who endangers the future of human civilization,” it said further.
It remains unclear what actions the UN Security Council could take since Russia is one of its five permanent members with veto power.
Putin’s declaration that Belarus will be ready to host Russian tactical nuclear weapons by the summer comes after last week he welcomed in Moscow Xi Jinping, the leader of Communist China.
During the visit, Xi called Putin his “dear friend,” even as China maintains its neutrality and has abstained from officially supporting Russia in its war against a pro-Western Ukraine.
The report describes the Russian leader’s decision to send nukes to Belarus as “the latest of his nuclear escalations” after last month, he moved to terminate Moscow’s participation in the last remaining arms limitation treaty with the United States.
“The elites of the West do not hide their purpose. But they also cannot fail to realize that it is impossible to defeat Russia on the battlefield,” Putin claimed.
Ukraine calls for emergency UN meeting over Putin’s ‘nuclear blackmail’ in Belarus https://t.co/GFzcA9deQ3
— Fox News (@FoxNews) March 26, 2023