Ukraine: Russia holds Belarus nuclear hostage

Published March 26th, 2023 - 08:43 GMT
Ukraine: Russia holds Belarus nuclear hostage
Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) meets with his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence, outside Moscow, on February 17, 2023. (Photo by Vladimir Astapkovich / SPUTNIK / AFP)
U.S. on lookout for implications from Russia's plans to remove nuclear weapons to Belarus, while Ukraine condemned the move , saying Moscow was holding Minsk as a "nuclear hostage."

ALBAWABA - The United States is on the lookout for a fallout from Russia’s plan to station tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, CNN reported, as Ukraine said Russia's move would hold Minsk as a "nuclear hostage."

CNN quoted the State Department as saying that Washington would not adjust its nuclear weapons strategy in response to the Russian move.

The U.S. will "continue to monitor the implications" of Russia’s plan, CNN said.

"We have not seen any reason to adjust our own strategic nuclear posture nor any indications Russia is preparing to use a nuclear weapon," State Department spokesperson Vedant Patel said in a statement to CNN.

Announcing Russia's plan, President Vladimir Putin told state broadcaster Russia 1 on Saturday that Moscow will complete the construction of a special storage facility for tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus by the beginning of July.

He said Moscow had already transferred an Iskander short-range missile system, a device which can be fitted with nuclear or conventional warheads, to Belarus.

During the interview, "Putin said Russia had helped Belarus convert 10 aircraft to make them capable of carrying tactical nuclear warheads and would start training pilots to fly the re-configured planes early next month."

Belarus, which is west of Russia on Ukraine’s long northern border, is among Moscow’s closest allies. It helped the Kremlin launch an invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, allowing the Russian troops to enter the country from the north.

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