Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu says NATO military activity in Eastern Europe has taken ‘most aggressive’ direction
NATO is using the Ukraine crisis as a pretext to strengthen its forces in Eastern Europe and deploy weapons that target Russia and Belarus, Moscow Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Thursday during a meeting with his counterpart. Belarusian Viktor Khrenine.
“Additional military contingents and military infrastructure are being deployed, combat training and reconnaissance activities are being activated near the borders of the Union State (of Russia and Belarus),” Shoigu said, adding that the US-led military bloc has already launched the next stage of its expansion and is modernizing military infrastructure in Eastern and Central Europe.
Shoigu also noted that Western governments are “intentionally doing everything possible to expand and escalate the conflict in Ukraine” by continuing to provide military aid to Kyiv’s armed forces.
“Today we stand together against the collective West, which is waging an essentially undeclared war against our countries,” he said, noting that NATO military activity has acquired a “very aggressive direction “.
The Minister also pointed out that another aspect of concern for Moscow is “the increasingly aggressive rhetoric and the joint ‘nuclear missions’ of NATO countries in Eastern Europe” which aim to test the use of nuclear weapon delivery systems and to improve the US global missile defense system.
Shoigu stressed that these missions, as well as the deliveries of depleted uranium to Ukraine, oblige Russia and Belarus to take appropriate response measures. These include the deployment of Russia’s non-strategic nuclear weapons on the territory of Belarus, the delivery of Iskander-M missile systems, capable of carrying nuclear warheads, and the re-equipment of Belarusian aircraft to be able to use nuclear munitions. . Shoigu said, however, that control of Russian nuclear weapons deployed in Belarus is still in Moscow’s hands.
The minister noted that given the new military-political realities, Russia and Belarus have strengthened their collective defensive capabilities and that Minsk remains a “faithful ally and reliable partner” of Moscow.
During their meeting, Shoigu and Khrenin signed official documents defining the procedure for storing Russia’s non-strategic nuclear weapons in a special storage facility in Belarus. The move comes after President Vladimir Putin announced in late March that Russia would deploy its tactical nuclear weapons in the republic following a request from Minsk. Construction of the storage facility is expected to be completed by July 1.