Putin has taken Belarus ‘hostage’ with Russian plan to deploy nuclear weapons in the country, Ukraine says
Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council Oleksiy Danilov during the briefing after the council meeting in Kiev, Ukraine, November 7, 2022. Sergey Kharchenko / NurPhoto via Getty Images
A top Ukrainian official said on Sunday that Russia has taken Belarus as a “nuclear hostage”.
On Saturday, Putin announced plans to store strategic nuclear weapons in the country.
In response the US stated that it “sees no reason to adjust its own strategic nuclear position”.
Russia has been accused of holding Belarus hostage after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced plans to store strategic nuclear weapons in the neighboring country.
Oleksiy Danilov is the head of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine. said on twitter that the move was A step towards “internal destabilization of the country”.
“The Kremlin took Belarus as a nuclear hostage,” he said.
Mykhailo Podolić, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, called the statement “very predictable”, adding that Putin is “afraid of losing and all he can do is scare tactics,” on Twitter on Sunday.
On Saturday, Putin announced on Russian state television that he plans to build a storage facility in Belarus to hold strategic nuclear weapons. He said that the plant would be constructed by July.
The Russian president said there was “nothing unusual” about his announcement, noting that the US “has long deployed its strategic nuclear weapons on the territory of its allies,” according to Reuters.
He said the act would not violate international nuclear non-proliferation agreements.
One expert told Reuters, however, that the recent announcement was “very significant”, noting that Russia’s move would mark the first time since the 1990s that Moscow would store nuclear weapons outside its borders.
Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, an exiled Belarusian politician, said in a twitter post Putin’s move “violates the Constitution of Belarus and grossly contradicts the will of the Belarusian people.”
In response to Putin’s statement, the US said that it would monitor the situation.
“We see no reason to adjust our strategic nuclear posture,” the US Department of Defense said, according to CNN.
Belarus and Russia have long been allies – and the former Soviet republic is commonly seen as a Russian puppet state. The country shares borders with both Ukraine and Russia.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and his regime have supported Putin since the start of Russia’s prolonged invasion of Ukraine, after he allowed Russian troops to enter Ukraine across its border.
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