MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia on Saturday dismissed U.S. President Joe Biden’s criticism of Russia’s plans to use tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, saying the United States has been deploying just such nuclear weapons in Europe for decades.
Russia announced that it was proceeding with the deployment of such weapons outside its borders for the first time since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said the weapons had already been deployed.
Mr Biden on Friday said it was a “very negative” response to reports that Russia was pursuing plans to deploy tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus. The US State Department condemned Russia’s nuclear program.
“Given the large-scale hybrid war waged by the United States against our country, it is the sovereignty of Russia and Belarus to ensure their own security by any means deemed necessary,” the Russian embassy in the United States said in a statement.
“Our actions are fully consistent with our international legal obligations.”
The United States said the world faces the biggest nuclear threat since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, citing President Vladimir Putin’s remarks during the Ukraine conflict. But the Russian government claims its position is misunderstood.
Putin has portrayed the Ukraine war as a struggle for Russia’s survival against aggressive Western powers, and Russia, which has more nuclear weapons than any other country, will do whatever it takes to defend itself. warned repeatedly.
Tactical nuclear weapons are used for tactical purposes on the battlefield and are typically less effective than strategic nuclear weapons designed to destroy cities in the United States, Europe, or Russia.
The Russian embassy said US criticism of Russia’s planned operation was hypocritical, saying “Before blaming others, Washington could use some introspection”.
“For decades, the United States has had a large arsenal of nuclear weapons in Europe. We participate in nuclear sharing agreements with NATO allies and are training scenarios for the use of nuclear weapons against our country. “
The United States has deployed nuclear weapons in Western Europe since the Cold War, when President Dwight D. Eisenhower authorized the use of nuclear weapons as a countermeasure against a perceived threat by the Soviet Union. The first US nuclear weapon in Europe he was deployed to Britain in 1954.
Many details of the current US deployment are classified, but the Federation of American Scientists says the US has deployed 100 B61 tactical nuclear weapons in Europe (Italy, Germany, Turkey, Belgium and the Netherlands).