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Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced that Russia will station tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, a move that is likely to further stoke tensions in the region.
In a video statement released on Tuesday, Putin said that the deployment of the nuclear weapons was in response to “the deepening militarisation of the West”. He said that Russia had no intention of attacking anyone, but that its military forces must be strong enough to ensure its security.
The move is likely to raise alarm bells among NATO members, which have long been concerned about Russian military action in the region. Putin's announcement is likely to increase tensions between Russia and the West and could be seen as a sign that Moscow is willing to use nuclear weapons as leverage.
The deployment of tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus is the latest sign of Russia's growing presence in the region. In recent months, Russia has deployed troops and equipment to Belarus, which borders NATO member states Lithuania and Poland.
The move is likely to complicate already strained relations between Russia and the West, and could further escalate already high tensions in the region. Putin's announcement is likely to increase calls for further sanctions against Russia in response to its military activities in the region.
This is not the first time that Russia has deployed tactical nuclear weapons in the region. In 2020, Moscow deployed dozens of tactical nuclear missiles to Kaliningrad, a Russian enclave on the Baltic Sea.
The deployment of tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus is likely to further stoke tensions between Russia and the West. It is yet another sign of Russia's willingness to use nuclear weapons as a form of leverage and could further increase the risk of a conflict in the region.