Putin launched a new round of nuclear threats this week after confirming that Russian warheads had been moved to Belarus.
The Russian president said the escalation step was meant to serve as a warning to the West.
US and Western intelligence officials, however, were quick to dismiss Putin’s most recent threats.
Vladimir Putin issued a weighty warning to the West this week by announcing that a first tranche of Russian tactical nuclear weapons had been stationed in neighboring Belarus as a stopgap to a possible “strategic defeat” in Ukraine.
At an economic forum in St. Petersburg on Friday, Putin said the warheads would only be used if Russian territory was threatened, echoing the same empty threats the Russian president has frequently espoused since the war began in February. 2022.
US and Western officials quickly brushed aside Putin’s latest batch of nuclear threats. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Friday that there was no indication that Russia was preparing to actually use a nuclear weapon and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that while the organization had seen “some preparations “on the part of Russia, there had been no notable changes in “Russia’s strategy”. nuclear stance.”
“It’s part of the nuclear messages and the nuclear rhetoric that we’ve seen for some time, part of a pattern that we’ve seen for several years,” Stoltenberg said in comments Friday, “where Russia has modernized nuclear weapons, deployed more nuclear weapons – also in the High North – but now also for the first time by permanently deploying weapons in Belarus.”
Putin first said in March that Russia planned to move tactical weapons to Belarus, which served as the launch pad for the country’s invasion of Ukraine more than a year ago.
The Russian president compared the move to the deployment of US nuclear weapons in various European countries over the years. It is the first time that Moscow has moved such weapons out of its own country since the fall of the Soviet Union.
At the St Petersburg International Economic Forum on Friday, Putin said the escalation move was meant to prioritize ‘containment’ and send a message to any country ‘thinking of inflicting a strategic defeat on us’, according to BBC. News and Reuters, explicitly invoking the United States, which continues to support and supply Ukraine with weapons and equipment.
“Why should we threaten the whole world?” Putin responded when asked about the likelihood of using the weapons. “I have already said that the use of extreme measures is possible in case of danger to the Russian state.”
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said on Tuesday that Belarus had started accepting delivery of Russian warheads, some of which are more than three times more powerful than the atomic bombs the United States dropped on Japan in 1945, according to Reuters.
Putin said this week that the arms transfer to Belarus would take place by the end of the summer.
The Russian president has threatened or hinted at the possibility of using nuclear weapons so many times since the start of the war in Ukraine that experts and civilians are increasingly ignoring him. A Russia and Ukraine expert told Insider last year that the president’s threats were most likely aimed at manipulating global society by creating confusion and fear.
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