US condemns deal allowing Russia to deploy nuclear weapons in Belarus

Russian and Belarusian defense ministers on Thursday signed an agreement outlining how to store Russian nuclear weapons in Belarus, Russian state media reported, as Moscow moved forward with a weapons deployment plan nuclear tactics on the territory of its close ally.

Belarusian President Aleksandr G. Lukashenko said in Moscow on Thursday that the relocation of weapons had begun, but did not say whether some had already arrived in his country, Belarusian state news agency Belta reported.

The signing of the deal comes about two months after Russian President Vladimir V. Putin said he would be able to position nuclear weapons in Belarus by the summer, a claim analysts widely considered at the time. era as a bluster intended to put pressure on the West.

The deal is “the latest example of irresponsible behavior we’ve seen from Russia since its full-scale invasion of Ukraine more than a year ago,” the door-keeper told reporters on Thursday. State Department spokesman, Matthew Miller. The United States saw no reason to adjust its nuclear posture and had seen no signs that Russia was preparing to use a nuclear weapon, he added.

Russian State Information Service, Tass, reported that Russian Defense Minister Sergei K. Shoigu met his Belarusian counterpart, Viktor Khrenin, in Minsk on Thursday. He quoted the Russian Defense Ministry as saying the two signed documents formalized “the procedure for keeping Russian non-strategic nuclear weapons in a special storage facility” in Belarus.

Mr Putin has repeatedly made veiled threats to use nuclear weapons since launching the full-scale invasion of Ukraine last year. US officials say they have seen no evidence that Russia is moving or intends to use its nuclear weapons, but concerns remain.

Even if Russia were to move some of its nuclear assets to Belarus, it would not seriously change the nuclear threat since Russia can already target a wide range of territories within its own borders.

The US government estimates that Russia possesses approximately 2,000 tactical nuclear weapons, which are delivered by aircraft, short-range missiles and even artillery shells and are intended to destroy troops and weapons on the battlefield. They have a short range and much lower yield than the nuclear warheads of long-range strategic missiles designed to destroy entire cities.

nytimes Eur

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