OAN’s Roy Francis
1:03 PM – Saturday, June 17, 2023
Russian President Vladimir Putin confirmed that he has placed nuclear weapons in Belarus. He went on to explain that his reasoning for doing so was to send the West a reminder that it could not strategically defeat Russia.
The delivery of nuclear warheads to Belarus, a close ally of Russia, was confirmed by Putin at Russia’s flagship economic forum in St. Petersburg on Friday. The Russia President also said that there is no need for him to resort to nuclear weapons yet.
“As you know we were negotiating with our ally, (Belarusian President (Alexander) Lukashenko, that we would move a part of these tactical nuclear weapons to the territory of Belarus – this has happened,” he said. “The first nuclear warheads were delivered to the territory of Belarus. But only the first ones, the first part. But we will do this job completely by the end of the summer or by the end of the year… It is precisely as an element of deterrence so that all those who are thinking about inflicting a strategic defeat on us are not oblivious to this circumstance.”
Moscow’s deployment of warheads outside of Russia is the first time that it had done so since the fall of the Soviet Union, and Putin said that it was a warning to the West against the support that Ukraine has been provided since the conflict began.
Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko said that his country has started receiving the delivery of nuclear warheads. He explained that some of the warheads included bombs three times more powerful than the ones that the United States used on Japan in 1945.
The Russian leader said that the West was doing everything in its power to inflict a “strategic defeat” on Russia. He went on to explain that there is no change in Moscow’s nuclear posture, and that he has no need to resort to nuclear weapons.
“Nuclear weapons have been made to ensure our security in the broadest sense of the word and the existence of the Russian state, but we…have no such need (to use them),” Putin said. “Just talking about this (the potential use of nuclear weapons) lowers the nuclear threshold. We have more than NATO countries and they want to reduce our numbers. Screw them.”
Putin said that the warheads would be used if Russia’s territory or state was directly threatened. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that there is no indication that Russia intends to use the warheads.
“We don’t see any indications that Russia is preparing to use a nuclear weapon,” Blinken said.
Nevertheless, the White House said that it is closely monitoring the situation, along with China who has warned against the use of nuclear weapons in the ongoing conflict.
On Saturday, Putin is set to meet with African leaders, who had previously met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Friday, as part of a peace initiative that the African leaders are presenting to both countries.
However, Zelenskyy stated that Kyiv would not enter negotiations with Moscow while it still occupied Ukrainian territory.
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