Russian and Belarusian Defense Ministers Sergei Shoigu and Viktor Jrenin (Russian Defense Ministry/Handout via REUTERS)
The European Union has affirmed this Friday that the transfer of Russian nuclear weapons to Belarusian territory will lead to an “extremely dangerous” escalation and has stressed that “any attempt” to escalate the situation will have a “firm and coordinated reaction” by the allies .
The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Policy, Josep Borrell, has indicated that this action goes against the Budapest Memorandum, in which the parties promised to eliminate all nuclear weapons from their territory, and the joint declaration of January 2022 signed by China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States, the five nuclear countries.
“The Belarusian regime is complicit in Russia’s illegal and unprovoked war against Ukraine. We urge the Belarusian authorities to immediately end their support for Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine and revoke the decision, which can only contribute to increasing tensions in the region and undermine Belarus’ sovereignty,” he said. a statement.
The leader of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, informed on Thursday within the framework of the Eurasian Economic Forum, held in Moscow, that his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, confirmed to him “the start of the transfer of nuclear weapons” from Russia to Belarusian territory.
The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Policy, Josep Borrell (REUTERS/TT News Agency/Christine Olsson)
The Russian and Belarusian defense ministers, Sergei Shoigu and Viktor Jrenin, respectively, signed a series of documents on Thursday after a meeting in Minsk, the capital of Belarus, to establish the procedure to be followed.
The construction of a series of storage facilities for this type of weapon is expected to finish on July 1. Moscow has already delivered to Minsk an Iskander missile defense system, which can carry nuclear warheads, while helping to train and equip Russian forces so they can make use of “special ammunition.”
The move formalizes the agreement reached earlier by Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko. Putin previously announced in March that his country planned to deploy comparatively short-range, small-power tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus. The signing of the agreement comes at a time when Russia is preparing for the Ukrainian counter-offensive.
Both the Russian and Belarusian authorities consider the move to be motivated by hostility from the West.
(With information from EP and AP)
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