Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Saturday he would deploy tactical nuclear weapons in neighboring and allied Belarus.
Putin has repeatedly issued thinly veiled threats that he might use nuclear weapons in Ukraine, rekindling Cold War-era fears.
He also said he would deploy depleted uranium munitions if kyiv received such munitions from the West following a British suggestion that it could supply Ukraine.
“There is nothing unusual here either: the United States has been doing this for decades. It has long since placed its tactical nuclear weapons on the territory of its allies,” Putin said.
Putin said he had spoken with Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko and said “we agreed to do the same”.
On the question of how Moscow would react if the West supplied Ukraine with depleted uranium shells, following a suggestion from Britain, it could supply Kiev with the ammunition, Putin said. Russia had large quantities of weapons.
“Russia of course has what he needs to answer. Without exaggeration, we have hundreds of thousands of such shells. We haven’t used them yet,” Putin added in an interview with Russian television.
The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) has warned that nuclear threats create a dangerous sense of uncertainty about their possible use.
The longest As Russia’s operation in Ukraine continues, the greater the risk of a nuclear strike, ICAN warned last month ahead of the offensive’s first anniversary.
Putin announced last month that Moscow would suspend its participation in New START, the latest arms control treaty between the world’s two major nuclear powers. Russia and the United States.
NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg criticized Russia for suspending the nuclear arms limitation treaty with the United States, saying it marked the end of Europe’s post-Cold War arms control architecture.
The announcement came after Moscow last August suspended US inspections of its military sites under New START.
“Dirty bomb” allegations
Putin previously told a Kremlin meeting that “such a threat is mounting” over the use of nuclear weapons, but was evasive on Russian politics.
US officials have expressed concern that Russia could use nukes if he feels defeated on the battlefield and could plant a fictional story to justify his actions.
Russia has previously spoken of alleged Ukrainian attempts to detonate a “dirty bomb”, drawing strong denials from Ukraine and a strong rebuke from the United States, which had rare direct communications with Moscow to warn of the nuclear use.
Neither the United States nor Russia — by far the largest nuclear power — officially has a policy of not using ultra-destructive weapons first.
A recent review of US posture by President Joe Biden concluded only that nuclear weapons should only be used in “extreme circumstances”.