Ukraine urges Security Council meeting over Russia’s Belarus nuclear plans – National

The Ukrainian government on Sunday called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to “counter the Kremlin’s nuclear blackmail” after Russian President Vladimir Putin revealed plans to deploy tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus.

A Ukrainian official said Russia had “held Belarus as a nuclear hostage.”

But Moscow said it was making the move amid growing Western military support for Ukraine. Putin announced the plan in a televised interview aired on Saturday, saying it was triggered by Britain’s decision last week to provide Ukraine with armor-piercing ammunition containing depleted uranium.

Putin has argued that Russia is following the US lead by deploying tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus. He pointed out that Washington has nuclear weapons in Belgium, Germany, Italy, Holland and Turkey.

“We’re doing what they’ve been doing for decades, deploying them to specific allies, prepping launch platforms and training crews,” he said.

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Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry condemned the move in a statement on Sunday and called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council.

“Ukraine, including a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, which has a special responsibility to prevent the threat of aggression using nuclear weapons, will be effective in countering nuclear blackmail of the Kremlin by Britain, China, the United States and France. We look forward to action,” the statement said. .

“The world must unite against those who endanger the future of human civilization.”

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Putin says Russia will deploy nuclear weapons in Belarus

Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, said on Sunday that Putin’s announcement would maximize “the level of negative perception and public rejection” of Russia and Putin in Belarusian society. He tweeted that it was a “step towards internal destabilization” of Belarus. Danilov added that the Kremlin “has taken Belarus as a nuclear hostage.”

In Russia, officials said a Ukrainian drone caused an explosion in a town far from the border between the two countries on Sunday, injuring three people. 141 have been identified.

The explosion damaged houses in the town of Kileyevsk in the Tula region, about 300 kilometers (180 miles) from the Ukrainian border and 175 kilometers (110 miles) south of Moscow. Media reports said the crater was about 15 meters in diameter and 5 meters deep.

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Russian state news agency TASS reported that authorities had identified the drone as a Ukrainian Tu-141. The Tu-141 entered service with the Soviet Army in his 1970s. It was reportedly taken out of service in 1989 and reintroduced in Ukraine in 2014. It has a range of about 1,000 kilometers (620 miles).

Ukraine has yet to comment on the incident.

On Saturday, Putin claimed that Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko had long called for Belarus to have nuclear weapons again to counter NATO. Belarus shares borders with three of her NATO member states (Latvia, Lithuania and Poland), and Russia announced that it will use Belarus as a transit point to send troops to neighboring Ukraine on February 24, 2022. used the territory.

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Both Lukashenko’s support for the war and Putin’s plans to deploy tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus have been condemned by the Belarusian opposition.

Tactical nuclear weapons are intended for battlefield use and have a shorter range and lower power compared to much more powerful nuclear warheads mounted on long-range missiles. Putin said he plans to keep them and the construction of those storage facilities will be completed by July 1.

Russia keeps its tactical nuclear weapons in dedicated depots on its own territory, and transferring some of the weapons to Belarusian storage facilities would be a way to keep them close to Russian aircraft and missiles already stationed there. The placement would give them an advantage in the Ukrainian conflict.

The US said it would “monitor the impact” of Putin’s announcement. So far, Washington has seen no “signs that Russia is preparing to use nuclear weapons,” said Adrian Watson, spokesperson for the National Security Council.

In Germany, the foreign ministry called it a “further attempt at nuclear blackmail,” German news agency DPA reported late Saturday. “President Putin’s comparison to NATO’s nuclear participation is misleading and cannot be used to justify the measures announced by Russia,” the ministry said.

© 2023 The Canadian Press

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