VILNIUS – Russia’s decision to deploy tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus must get a response from NATO and the European Union (EU), Laurynas Kasciunas, chairman of Lithuania's Committee on National Security and Defense (CNSD), has said.
“It’s a desperate move by the Kremlin, but it is part of nuclear blackmail. Therefore it would be careless and irresponsible to say that it does not change anything as regards regional security,” Kasciunas said in a Facebook post.
Commenting on Russia’s decisions on nuclear arms, the Conservative MP stressed that NATO should substantially beef up military capabilities in Lithuania and other Baltic countries.
“Also, there should be sanctions but sanctions alone won’t be sufficient in this case. Russia is making a hostile move on the eve of NATO summit in Vilnius, which shows clearly, at the same time, who should give a united response. Russia understands only force and any concessions are understood by it as an invitation for aggression,” Kasciunas wrote.
He stressed that the Minsk regime “should understand it is burying any autonomy once and for all and spitting in its citizens’ face once again”.
“Will Belarusians continue to keep silent? Russia also spit upon a joint statement of two leaders about non-deployment of nuclear arms in foreign countries, which it recently issued with the People’s Republic of China. The Kremlin humiliates even its closest ally,” Kasciunas pointed out.
“Lithuania will not give in to blackmail and will continue strengthening its defense capabilities,” he added.
Russian president said Saturday he would deploy tactical nuclear weapons in neighbor and ally Belarus. Vladimir Putin said the deployment was similar to moves from the United States, which stores such weapons in bases in the territories of its allies.