Despite Putin’s announcement to deploy tactical weapons in Belarus, NATO does not perceive a change in Russia’s nuclear position

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks during a news conference at the alliance headquarters in Brussels, Monday, April 3, 2023. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

The general secretary of the NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, has assured this Monday that the military organization does not perceive a change in Russia’s nuclear position despite the announcements by Russian President Vladimir Putin that Moscow will deploy tactical weapons in Belarus.

“We closely follow what Russia is doing. But until now, we have not seen any change in their nuclear posture that requires any change in our nuclear posture”, he assured at a press conference from Brussels prior to the meeting of allied foreign ministers.

Stoltenberg has stated that Putin’s announcement responds to the “trend” of a “aggressive nuclear rhetoric” that seeks to “intimidate” the allies into their military support for Ukraine in the face of the Russian invasion.

Faced with this, the NATO political leader has assured that the members of the Atlantic alliance will not allow themselves to be coerced. “Putin tries to use nuclear weapons as a way to prevent us from supporting Ukraine. We will not be intimidated ”, he stated.

In any case, the former Norwegian prime minister has emphasized that NATO is an organization with nuclear capabilities and its ultimate purpose is to deter and defend all its members, so he will closely monitor Russian activity with regard to the possible positioning of nuclear weapons in the neighboring country.

The Russian president announced last week an agreement with Belarus for the deployment of russian tactical nuclear bombs on belarusian territory, in response to the British announcement that it will supply depleted uranium ammunition to the Ukrainian Army.

Minsk justified the need to strengthen its defensive capabilities given the “legitimate concerns” it has in terms of security and called international reactions to the deployment of Russian tactical nuclear weapons “exaggerated”.

File photo of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko in Saint Petersburg (Sputnik/Mikhail Metzel/Kremlin via REUTERS)
File photo of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko in Saint Petersburg (Sputnik/Mikhail Metzel/Kremlin via REUTERS) (SPUTNIK/)

Russia defended on Friday before the UN Security Council the sealed agreement to deploy tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus in the face of criticism from the majority of member states, which warned of the danger posed by this move.

Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations, Vasili Nebenzia, justified the move as a response to the widespread presence of US atomic weapons in European countries and the military support Western powers are giving Ukraine.

“Did they really expect us not to respond to provocative and aggressive acts?” Nebenzia asked in a speech to the Security Council, convened at the request of Ukraine and its allies after the announcement of the new pact between Russia and Belarus.

The Russian representative blamed the United States for weakening the entire nuclear non-proliferation architecture in order to ensure its “geopolitical dominance” and prevent the “emergence of a multipolar world.”

In recent years, Moscow and Washington, the two great nuclear powers, have ended several atomic control agreements and taken unilateral steps to modernize their arsenals, a situation that, coupled with the war in Ukraine, increased the risk of an atomic weapon being used to its highest point since the worst phases of the Cold War, according to the UN itself.

“The absence of dialogue and the erosion of the disarmament and arms control architecture, combined with dangerous rhetoric and veiled threats, are key factors in this potentially existential risk,” said United Nations High Representative for Disarmament Izumi today. Nakamitsu.

The Western powers, led by the United States, harshly attacked the Russia-Belarus agreement and accused the Russian president of using nuclear weapons as threat against those who support kyiv.

(With information from EP and EFE)

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