VILNIUS – Russian president aims to intimidate countries that support Ukraine with his announcement that his country would station tactical nuclear arms in Belarus, Lithuanian defense minister has said.
“Russia is making new moves to provoke discontent among some Western politicians over support to Ukraine or to intimidate the countries that support Ukraine. Putin’s announcement about the deployment of nuclear weapons in Belarus by July also qualifies as such a move,” Arvydas Anusauskas said in a Facebook post on Sunday.
He noted that there should be no special reaction to those Russian plans.
“We should not be distracted by this, shouting 'what will happen now?'. The protection of NATO countries against the threat of nuclear weapons is ensured regardless of whether these weapons are deployed to the West of our borders (Kaliningrad Region), to the east (Belarus), or the north (Leningrad Region),” the minister stressed.
He pointed out that the US’ stance regarding this step by Vladimir Putin was quite moderate because this deployment “would not change any of America’s plans for nuclear deterrence”.
Russian president said Saturday he would deploy tactical nuclear weapons in neighbor and ally Belarus. Putin said the deployment was similar to moves from the United States, which stores such weapons in bases in the territories of its allies.