Ukrainian servicemen scan the skies near Bakhmut Ukrainian servicemen scan the skies near Bakhmut  (AFP or licensors)

Ukraine condemns Russian nuclear weapons in Belarus

Ukraine responds to Russian President Vladimir Putin after he announced that Moscow would place tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus. A key Ukrainian presidential adviser said Sunday that the move comes as Moscow realizes it will eventually lose its invasion of Ukraine.

By Stefan J. Bos 

Russian President Putin suggested that Moscow will station tactical nuclear weapons in neighboring and ally Belarus within the coming months.

Putin did not specify when they would be transferred to Belarus, which borders Ukraine, and three members of the NATO military alliance– Poland, Lithuania, and Latvia.

However, the Russian leader said Moscow would complete the construction of a storage facility there by 1 July.

Listen to Stefan Bos' report

The United States tried to play down the developments saying Russia and Belarus talked about such a deal over the past year and there were no signs Moscow planned to use its nuclear weapons.

However, Dmitry Medvedev, deputy secretary of Russia's Security Council and the country's former president, warned earlier last week that the West's ongoing support for Ukraine "brings the nuclear apocalypse closer."

He added that Russia's "relations with the West are already worse than they have ever been in history."

Ukrainian presidential aide Mykhaylo Podolyak accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of violating the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, charges Putin denies.

Scare tactics

Podolyak also said on the social media site Twitter that Putin was resorting to "scare" tactics.

He added that by making a statement about tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, Putin admits that he is afraid of losing Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

Military observers say that has become clear around the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, where fierce fighting continues between Russian and Ukrainian forces.

Ukrainian soldier Roman is among those hiding and fighting from Bakhmut's trenches resembling World War One. "Today, I lost a few combat brothers. Also, I destroyed a few invaders, " he said as explosions reverberated nearby. "I receive so many emotions when thinking about the future life," he added amid relentless incoming shelling nearby. "Of course, physically and emotionally, I am exhausted," the young man explained.

Yet, he was happy that he discovered an energy chocolate bar in his uniform. "Life is amazing, guys; that is true," he said in a video message he posted on social media. "If I survive here, my life will be even more valuable than before because I am sure that life is a great present," he added.

Many thousands of troops are known to have died on both sides, and the war is far from over.

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26 March 2023, 15:45