Russia's deployment of nuclear weapons to Belarus is 'dangerous': NATO
President Vladimir Putin likens his move to the United States basing some of its nuclear arsenals on its European allies' territories.
NATO condemned on Sunday Russia's announcement that it will deploy tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus and called it "dangerous and irresponsible."
However, the military alliance did admit through its spokesperson Oana Lungescu that the Western allies had not yet "seen any changes in Russia's nuclear posture that would lead us to adjust our own."
Moscow's plan triggered Ukraine to call for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss Russia's announcement to deploy its tactical warheads to its neighboring country.
Kiev sees this announcement as "nuclear blackmail".
In a statement, as cited by the German news agency dpa, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said, "The comparison made by President Putin with the joint use of NATO nuclear weapons is misleading and cannot be used to justify the step announced by Russia."
A nuclear analogy
President Vladimir Putin likened this move to the United States basing some of its nuclear arsenals on its European allies' territories.
"There is nothing unusual here either: firstly, the United States has been doing this for decades. They have long deployed their tactical nuclear weapons on the territory of their allies, NATO countries, in Europe for a long time. They are [presented] in six countries, if my memory serves, Germany, Turkey, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, and Greece. Greece does not have it right now, but it has a storage facility," Russia's leader said.
NATO joined Germany in dismissing this analogy.
"We agreed that we will do the same - without violating our obligations, I emphasize, without violating our international obligations on the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons," Putin stressed.
The construction of the weapons storage facility in Belarus is due to be completed on July 1, according to Putin.
"Russia's nuclear rhetoric is dangerous and irresponsible. NATO is vigilant, and we are closely monitoring the situation," Lungescu said.
"Russia's reference to NATO's nuclear sharing is totally misleading. NATO allies act with full respect for their international commitments," she added.
Lungescu also said, "Russia has consistently broken its arms control commitments, most recently suspending its participation in the New START Treaty."
Putin announced last month that Moscow would suspend its participation in the New Start Treaty, which was the last nuclear arms control pact between Russia and the US.
This move was prompted by the US issuing an intolerable ultimatum to Russia on the New START treaty, whereby Moscow must comply with the document's requirements, while Washington will do whatever it wants, as per the Russian President.
It is worth noting that Russia struck a deal yesterday with neighboring ally Belarus to station its tactical nuclear weapons on its territory, announced Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The Russian President also announced that Moscow has already deployed 10 nuclear-capable aircraft in the neighboring country.