Russian President Vladimir Putin confirmed the moving of a first batch of tactical Nuclear Weapons to Belarus as he spoke at the St Petersburg Economic Forum. Belarus, a significant ally of Moscow, has functioned as a launch-pad for Russia on many occasions, including the initial attack on Ukraine.
Small Nuclear Warheads
These weapons include small nuclear warheads meant for use on the battlefield and have a limited strike to destroy enemy troops without causing massive radioactive fallout. Putin says that the transfer will be complete by the end of the summer. He says that the move was about “containment” and as a message to anyone “thinking of inflicting a strategic defeat on us.”
When asked about the possibility of using the nukes, he replied:
“Why should we threaten the whole world? I have already said that the use of extreme measures is possible in case there is a danger to Russian statehood.”
US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, disagrees on this matter, saying:
“We don’t see any indications that Russia is preparing to use a nuclear weapon.”
This is coming after the newly launched Ukraine counter-offensive which Ukrainian President Zelensky claims has been going successful, and seven small settlements have been recovered. Putin has said that Ukraine’s offensive will not succeed, and that it would run out of its own equipment and be forced to rely solely on the donations of the West. “You can’t fight for long like that.”
Putin also addressed the sanctions imposed on his country,
Saying that they had strengthen trade dealings with countries in Asia and the Middle East instead of isolating Russia. He is also scheduled to meet South African leaders on Saturday.
These African leaders previously visited Ukraine to discuss political matters, when the city they were in became target for a Russian missile strike. Zelensky points to this and urges the ambassadors not to deal and negotiate with Russia while it was invading Ukrainian territory.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa calls for simultaneous de-escalation and negotiation, saying:
“We came here to listen and recognize what the people of Ukraine have gone through.”