Russia’s nuclear rhetoric is dangerous and irresponsible, says Nato

By Reuters: The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) on Sunday criticised Russia for its “dangerous and irresponsible” nuclear rhetoric, a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russia would station tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus.

“Nato is vigilant, and we are closely monitoring the situation. We have not seen any changes in Russia’s nuclear posture that would lead us to adjust our own,” a Nato spokesperson said.

“Russia’s reference to Nato’s nuclear sharing is totally misleading. Nato allies act with full respect of their international commitments. Russia has consistently broken its arms control commitments, most recently suspending its participation in the New START Treaty.

Russia will station tactical nuclear weapons in neighbouring Belarus, President Vladimir Putin said on Saturday, marking the first time since the mid-1990s that Moscow will have based such arms outside the country.

Vladimir Putin made the announcement at a time of growing tensions with the West over the Ukraine war and as some Russian commentators speculate about possible nuclear strikes.

“Tactical” nuclear weapons refer to those used for specific gains in the battlefield rather than those with the capacity to wipe out cities. It is unclear how many such weapons Russia has, given it is an area still shrouded in Cold War secrecy.

Putin did not specify when the weapons would be transferred to Belarus, which has borders with three Nato members – Poland, Lithuania and Latvia.

Russia and Belarus have a close military relationship and Minsk allowed Moscow to use Belarusian territory to send troops into Ukraine last year. This January, the two nations stepped up joint military training.

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