Nato has condemned Russia’s “dangerous” and “irresponsible” rhetoric after Vladimir Putin’s decision to station tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus.
The organisation is “closely monitoring” the situation and said the move would not lead it to change its own nuclear strategy. The US said it did not believe Russia was preparing to use nuclear weapons. Belarus shares a long border with Ukraine, as well as with Nato members Poland, Lithuania and Latvia.
Ukraine has called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to address the potential threat of President Putin’s announcement on Saturday.
President Putin said Moscow would not be transferring control of its arms to Minsk and that Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko – a firm ally of the Kremlin and supporter of its invasion of Ukraine – had long raised the issue with him.
Ukraine says the move violates nuclear non-proliferation agreements – an accusation President Putin has denied, instead comparing it to the US stationing its weapons in Europe.
But Nato on Sunday described Russia’s reference to nuclear sharing as “misleading”.