NATO called Vladimir Putin’s comments about nuclear weapons “dangerous.” This was after the Russian president said he wanted to put tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus. At the same time, Russian forces shelled the ukraine city of Avdiivka more often.
Putin compared his plan for Belarus to the US putting its weapons in Europe. He insisted that Russia would not break its promises not to spread nuclear weapons.
Even though the move wasn’t a surprise, it is one of Russia’s strongest nuclear signals to date and a warning to NATO about its military support for Ukraine. In response, Nato has asked the UN Security Council to meet.
Oana Lungescu, a spokeswoman for NATO, said on Sunday that Russia’s talk about nuclear weapons is dangerous and irresponsible.
We are keeping a careful eye on the situation, and NATO is on high alert. Russia’s nuclear policy hasn’t changed in a way that would make us change ours.”
She also said that Putin’s promise to keep weapons from getting into the wrong hands and his description of how US weapons are used abroad were way off.
Russia’s claim that NATO exchanges nuclear weapons is untrue.. All of NATO’s allies keep all of their international promises “In a statement, she said. “Russia has repeatedly failed to live up to its commitments about the reduction of nuclear weapons.”
Oleksiy Danilov, who is in charge of security in Ukraine, said that Russia’s plan would make Belarus less stable. He said that Moscow had taken Belarus “hostage.”
On Sunday, more people joined the chorus of criticism. Lithuania said it would ask for new sanctions against Moscow and Minsk, and the head of EU policy, Josep Borrell, told Belarus not to keep the weapons and threatened more sanctions if it did.
Belarus and Russia have close military ties, and Minsk let Moscow use Belarusian territory as a staging area for its full-scale invasion of Ukraine last year.
The US, which is also a nuclear superpower, didn’t seem too worried about Russia’s plans to move its nuclear weapons.
Rep. Michael McCaul, the Republican in charge of the foreign affairs committee in the US House of Representatives, said that he thought Russia’s plan was meant to scare the West.
McCaul said on Fox News Sunday, “I think this is just Putin shaking his sword around to try to scare people.” “These tactical nuclear weapons are scary.”
The term “tactical nuclear weapons” refers to those that are used to make specific gains on the battlefield instead of those that can destroy cities. Since this is still a secret area from the Cold War, no one knows how many of these weapons Russia has.
Putin said on Sunday that the West is putting together a new “axis” that is like the alliance between Germany and Japan during World War II.
This was a return to a theme he has used in his portrayal of the war, which is that Moscow is fighting a Ukraine controlled by Nazis and helped by Western powers that threaten Russia.
Ukraine thinks that these comparisons are fake reasons to start a war of imperial conquest.
Putin also said there was no military alliance between Russia and China. The US has said that it is afraid China will arm Russia, which China says is not true.
On the battlefield, Russian shelling nearly shut down the city of Avdiivka in eastern Ukraine, which is about 90 kilometers (56 miles) southwest of the city of Bakhmut, which is under siege. This was said by the top local official on Sunday.
Vitaliy Barabash, the head of the city’s military administration, said, “It makes me sad to say this, but Avdiivka is looking more and more like a place from a post-apocalyptic movie.”
Russian shells hit two high-rise buildings in Avdiivka, which is just 10 km from the northern edge of Donetsk city, which has been under Moscow’s control since 2014.
Last week, the Ukrainian military warned that Avdiivka could become a “second Bakhmut.” In Bakhmut, where both sides called the fighting a “meat grinder,” the town was turned into a pile of rubble by the fighting.
Ukraine’s General Staff said that its troops had stopped 85 Russian attacks in the last 24 hours, including some in the Bakhmut area.
Russia’s defense ministry said that its forces had hit military targets in Kharkiv, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherson, killing a lot of Ukrainians.
The ministry also said that on Sunday, it shot down a Ukrainian drone south of Moscow. Three people were hurt in the attack, and apartment blocks were damaged.
Kiev dismisses Russian claims that Ukrainian drones damaged civilian facilities on its territory.