MOSCOW — Today, President Vladimir Putin announced Russia will deploy nuclear weapons in Belarus, the first time Russian nuclear weapons will be stationed outside the country’s borders since the 1990s. Russia is believed to have more than a thousand so-called “tactical” nuclear weapons deployed along its western border, including in the enclave of Kaliningrad. The United States has approximately 180 B-61 nuclear bombs stored at bases in Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, and Turkey.
In reaction to the announcement, Emma Claire Foley, Associate Partner for Policy and Research with the Global Zero movement for a world without nuclear weapons, said the following:
“Vladimir Putin’s announcement is part of a consistent pattern of Russia threatening nuclear escalation of its ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
“The nuclear status quo is dangerous enough, and this will only make a bad situation worse. Russia already has hundreds of nuclear weapons deployed along its western flank; moving nuclear weapons to Belarus will make it even easier for a misunderstanding, miscommunication, or minor military incident to escalate to nuclear use.
“The United States and NATO should resist calls to react to Putin’s nuclear provocations in kind. The entire international community, including especially those countries still doing business with Russia, must condemn Putin’s nuclear escalation and urge him to de-escalate the conflict and address the catastrophic risks of nuclear escalation.”