Russia is ready to withdraw tactical nuclear weapons from Belarus if the United States refuses to deploy its nuclear warheads in Europe, Director of the Second Department of CIS countries of the Russian Foreign Ministry Alexei Polishchuk said.
“The hypothetical withdrawal of Russian TNWs from the territory of Belarus will be possible only if the United States and NATO abandon their destructive course of purposefully undermining the security of Russia and Belarus. This implies the complete withdrawal of all U.S. nuclear weapons on U.S. territory with the elimination of the relevant infrastructure in Europe”, Polishchuk said (quoted by RIA Novosti).
According to him, Russia’s deployment of TNWs in the neighboring country was a “forced” and “retaliatory measure” to the actions of NATO countries and the United States. It was also a reaction to “fundamental changes” in key areas of European security due to the need to ensure the defense of the Union State, the Foreign Ministry spokesman stressed.
The decision to deploy TNWs in Belarus was announced by “Russian President” Vladimir Putin on March 25. He explained it by the U.S. policy to transfer nuclear weapons to Germany, Turkey, the Netherlands, Italy and other EU countries. “We are not transferring our tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus, but we will deploy them and train the military like the U.S. in Europe”, Putin emphasized.
Russia’s TNWs in the neighboring country will be pushed to its western borders. According to Putin, by summer the first nuclear charges were already delivered to the territory of the republic, and the transfer will be completed by the end of the year. At the same time, the decision on the use of weapons remains with Moscow.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, against this background, said it was necessary to join NATO’s Nuclear Sharing program, which allows nuclear weapons to be placed in the alliance’s countries. “Water sharpens stone, [we] will talk [about this] with our allies”, Morawiecki said, adding that he did not want to “sit idly by” while Moscow escalates the threat.
Moscow criticized Warsaw’s idea. Dmitry Medvedev, deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council, said that “a request to deploy nuclear weapons in Poland threatens only one thing: such weapons will be used”.