Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Friday that the Biden administration was closely monitoring Russia’s claims that it stockpiled a tactical nuclear weapon in Belarus, but Washington had “no reason to adjust” its own posture. nuclear.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said earlier today that Moscow had sent the first of several nuclear weapons to its Belarusian ally, with the rest expected to be delivered by the end of the summer. Putin, who first announced plans to deploy nuclear bombs in the country bordering Ukraine in March, said the move was intended as a “deterrent”.
Blinken said he had seen Putin’s recent comments and that the United States “will continue to monitor the situation very closely and very carefully.”
“We have no reason to adjust our own nuclear posture,” Blinken said at a State Department press conference with Singapore’s Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan. “We see no indication that Russia is preparing to use a nuclear weapon.”
He added that Washington is still committed to defending “every square inch” of NATO territory.
“As for Belarus itself, this is just another example of [Belarus President Alexander] Lukashenko is making irresponsible and provocative choices to cede control of the sovereignty of Belarus against the will of the Belarusian people,” he said.
Ukraine’s Ambassador to the UK, Vadym Prystaiko, however, said Putin’s remarks should be taken “very, very seriously”, CNN reported.
“I believe that [Putin] blackmailed us all: Ukrainians first, but then Europeans and Americans and all our partners around the world,” Prystaiko said.
Moscow is transferring short-range tactical nuclear weapons, which are not as damaging as nuclear warheads attached to ballistic missiles but are capable of immense destruction, to Belarus.
Russia bringing nuclear weapons back to Belarus is the first such transfer for the Kremlin since the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s. At the time, Belarus was one of four former members of the Union, including Ukraine, which transferred nuclear weapons to Russia.
Putin, who has repeatedly threatened to use nuclear weapons in his war with Ukraine, also slammed NATO on Friday and warned there is a “serious danger of dragging the alliance further” into the war by supplying arms to Ukraine.
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