Vladimir Putin on Saturday announced he would deploy tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, a neighbor and ally, partially in response to a suggestion from the United Kingdom that it could supply Kyiv with depleted uranium ammunition.
Has he followed through with the threat?
The United States has seen no indication that Russia has yet moved any nuclear weapons, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said on Sunday.
“We have not seen any indication that he (Putin) has made good on this pledge or moved any nuclear weapons around,” Kirby told CBS’s Face the Nation.
With fears of a nuclear war rising since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, experts believe that any strike carried out by Moscow would likely involve small-size battlefield weapons, called “tactical” as opposed to “strategic” high-powered long-range nuclear weapons.
Kirby said, however, that Washington has “seen no indication he has any intention to use nuclear weapons, period, inside Ukraine.” The U.S. monitors the situation daily, he added, but that so far there was “nothing that would cause us to change our own strategic deterrent posture.”
Does Putin still intend to move the weapons to Belarus?
Putin said the deployment was similar to moves from the U.S., which stores such weapons in bases across Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey, an analogy Western allies called “misleading.”
Russia is due to start training crews on April 3 and plans to finish the construction of a special storage facility for tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus by July 1.
How has the world reacted?
Kyiv on Sunday said it was seeking an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council over the announcement.
“Ukraine expects effective actions to counteract the Kremlin’s nuclear blackmail from the United Kingdom, China, the United States and France,” the Ukrainian foreign ministry said.
“We demand that an extraordinary meeting of the UN Security Council be immediately convened for this purpose,” it added.
On Sunday secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, Oleksiy Danilov wrote on Twitter that “the Kremlin took Belarus as a nuclear hostage.”
He added that the move was “a step towards the internal destabilization of the country.”
Ukrainian presidential aide Mykhailo Podolyak added that “[Putin] admits that he is afraid of losing and all he can do is scare” people.
NATO also joined the criticism, with spokeswoman Oana Lungescu saying “Russia’s reference to NATO’s nuclear sharing is totally misleading. NATO allies act with full respect of their international commitments.”
Lungescu also blasted Russia’s announcement as “dangerous and irresponsible.”
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Ukraine needs fighter jets , long range missiles . EU must start to train pilots , supply all thats needed to kick orcs out . Sooner the better .
ONE WOULD HAVE THOUGHT... The whole of Europe would have an overwhelming desire to defeat Russia in Ukraine, so that Europe would not have to try to defeat Russia in Poland, Latvia, or Finland. Russia's war on Ukraine is on Europe's doorstep, and it affects Europe substantially more than it affects the United States. So why is it that the U.S. has given more military, financial, and humanitarian aid to Ukraine than all other countries in the world combined?
НАГНІВАННЯ СТРАХУ!! – Ось і все. Це просто нагнітання страху. Він намагається нагнати страх на Україну, НАТО і навіть США. Не дайте йому це зробити! Ви знаєте, як зупинити тактику лякання Путіна? Ви #ArmUkraineNow, щоб разом перемогти це зло.
Я просто звичайний американець, який нічого не знає про війну. Але я кажу, що США і НАТО повинні дати президенту Зеленському все, що він просить. Дайте Збройним Силам України все необхідне для перемоги у війні, а не лише для продовження війни. Дайте Україні винищувачі, ударні гелікоптери та ракети великої дальності та надішліть частину цих ракет до Москви. Навійте трохи страху на Путіна. Ви не можете виграти війну, якщо ви постійно піддаєтеся путінському страху. Путін теж не хоче ядерної війни. Перестаньте хвилюватись і почніть бомбити Росію, як Путін бомбить Україну, і результат? Путін здається. «Мир через силу».
FEAR MONGERING!! – That's all it is. It's just fear mongering. He's trying to strike fear into Ukraine, NATO and even the USA. Don't let him do it! Do you know how you stop Putin's scare tactics? You #ArmUkraineNow, so that we can defeat this evil together.
I'm just an ordinary American that doesn't know a whole lot about war. But I say the U.S. and NATO should give President Zelensky everything he asks for. Give the Armed Forces of Ukraine everything they need to win the war instead of only giving them enough to prolong the war. Give Ukraine fighter jets, attack helicopters and long range missiles and send some of those missiles to Moscow. Strike a little fear into Putin. You can't win a war if you're constantly giving in to Putin's fear mongering. Putin doesn't want a nuclear war either. Stop worrying and start bombing Russia just like Putin bombs Ukraine, and the result? Putin surrenders. “Peace Through Strength.”