NATO Condemns Putin’s “Irresponsible” Nuclear Rhetoric

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NATO stressed that it hadn’t seen any changes in Russia’s nuclear posture which would lead the alliance to adjust its own. NATO criticized Russia for “dangerous and irresponsible” nuclear rhetoric after President Vladimir Putin said Russia would deploy tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus. Reuters reported this on Sunday, March 26. “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 spokesperson for the alliance said. Putin's explanation that Russia is deploying nuclear weapons in Belarus because NATO countries are also deploying them on their territories is "completely misleading," the alliance added. “NATO allies act with full respect of their international commitments. Russia has consistently violated its arms control commitments, most recently by suspending its participation in the New START treaty,” a NATO spokesperson said. Russia to deploy nuclear weapons in Belarus The day before Putin announced that Russia would deploy Russian tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus. According to him, the talk is about 10 aircraft capable of carrying tactical nuclear weapons and the Iskander missile system. In addition, in July 2023, the construction of the storage facility for tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus is to be completed, Putin announced. According to him, Russia is doing “the same thing the U.S. has been doing for decades” when they have deployed tactical nuclear weapons in NATO countries. He added that Russia is not passing weapons to Belarus but only placing them, which means that this move does not violate the nuclear nonproliferation agreement. Response from the West The U.S. administration said Washington will continue to monitor the situation. “We see no reason to adjust the deployment of our own nuclear forces, nor any indication that Russia is ready to use nuclear weapons. We remain committed to collective defense within the NATO alliance,” the Pentagon press office said. The German government criticized Putin’s move calling it “another attempt at nuclear intimidation.” “The comparison to NATO’s joint nuclear missions is misleading and cannot justify the step announced by Russia,” an official from Germany’s Foreign Ministry stressed.