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Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs has called for calm in response to reports that Russia may be planning to deploy tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus.
The news comes amid increasing tensions between Russia and the West over Moscow's military build-up in the region and its support for Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.
Rinkēvičs said the reports were “alarming” but urged for a measured response and for diplomatic efforts to be made to address the situation.
“We have to be careful not to misinterpret the facts, but it is a serious situation and it requires a measured response,” he said in an interview with Latvian television.
He added that he was “concerned” by the reports and urged the European Union and NATO to be fully engaged in the situation and to make sure the security of the region was not compromised.
“We need to make sure that the security of the region is not threatened by any military build-up or the deployment of any weapons, including nuclear weapons,” he said.
Rinkēvičs also said that he was in contact with the Belarusian authorities and had urged them to adhere to international law and respect the sovereignty of other countries in the region.
The reports of a possible deployment of Russian tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus have been met with condemnation from the international community, with many fearing it could further destabilize the region.
At the same time, the Latvian foreign minister called for a diplomatic solution to the situation and urged all parties to avoid any action that could lead to a military escalation.
“We must remain calm and measured, and we must use all available diplomatic tools to address the situation,” he said.