Joe Biden has stated that the possibility of Vladimir Putin utilizing tactical nuclear weapons is real, days after criticizing the Kremlin’s placement of such weapons in Belarus.
The declaration that Moscow had sent its first tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus by his Russian counterpart on Saturday was dubbed totally reckless by the US president.
Vladimir Putin’s Potential Use of Tactical Nuclear Weapons
Belarus’ president, Alexander Lukashenko, announced this week that his nation had begun receiving tactical nuclear arsenal from Russia, some of which he claimed were three times as strong as the atomic bombs the US detonated on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.
This is Russia’s first outside-of-its-borders deployment of such weapons since the fall of the Soviet Union.
These are nuclear arsenal that could be used in conflict and have a smaller range and reduced power.
In reaction to the deployment, the US has stated that it has no intention of changing its position on strategic nuclear weapons and that it has not observed any indications that a nuclear attack by Russia is imminent.
In May, Russia rejected Mr. Biden’s criticism of its intention to station tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, arguing that the US had done so in Europe for decades.
The US and its allies are keeping a close eye on the Russian deployment, as is China, which has repeatedly warned against using nuclear weapons in the conflict in Ukraine.
Only days after the Kremlin started supplying Belarus with weapons, Putin made the remarks on Monday as Ukraine continued its counteroffensive to recapture occupied regions.
Renewed Nuclear Escalation Fears
On Saturday, Biden called Putin’s decision to place tactical nuclear weapons on his close ally and neighbor extremely reckless, and on Monday, he appeared to restate his worries about Putin’s threats.
Putin announced on Friday that Belarus has received its first tactical nuclear weapon and that the remaining weapons will be delivered before the year is through.
He originally made the announcement in March, reigniting concerns about nuclear escalation months after those concerns first started to grow.
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Moscow has not transferred such weapons outside its boundaries.
Washington has consistently maintained that there is no cause for it to modify its own nuclear posture and that there are no signs that Russia is getting ready to deploy nuclear weapons.
Putin has regularly threatened to use Russia’s potent nuclear arsenal if its sovereignty or territorial integrity is threatened since the beginning of his invasion of Ukraine.
Due in large part to the fact that Russia’s campaign failed to result in battlefield gains, Moscow hawks and propagandists frequently threaten to launch nuclear missiles into Western capitals.
Yet, Moscow has generally downplayed a string of attacks on its territory that it has blamed on Kyiv, allaying concerns of a nuclear conflict in recent months despite having publicly marked many red lines, most notably in the annexed Crimean Peninsula.