'Nuclear hostage': Ukraine blasts Vladimir Putin for deploying nukes to Belarus

'Nuclear hostage': Ukraine blasts Vladimir Putin for deploying nukes to Belarus
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - MARCH 21: (RUSSIA OUT) Russian President Vladimir Putin (C) seen during Russian-Chinese talks at the Grand Kremlin Palace, on March 21, 2023 in Moscow, Russia. Three days after being accused by an international tribunal of war crimes in Ukraine, Russian President Putin received Chinese leader Xi Jinping during his state visit to Russia. (Photo by Contributor/Getty Images).

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on Saturday that a portion of his world's-largest arsenal of nuclear weapons will be deployed to neighboring Belarus.

"There is nothing unusual here either: firstly, the United States has been doing this for decades. They have long deployed their tactical nuclear weapons on the territory of their allied countries," Putin said on state television, according to Reuters.

"We agreed that we will do the same - without violating our obligations, I emphasize, without violating our international obligations on the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons," Putin added.

READ MORE: 'Extremely dangerous escalation': Putin to station Russian nukes in Belarus

Putin withdrew from the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty last month, which was the last remaining check on proliferation between Russia and the United States. Both nations are investing heavily in upgrades to their cache of atomic bombs.

Reactions in the West were mixed. A US official who spoke to Reuters said that "we have not seen any reason to adjust our own strategic nuclear posture nor any indications Russia is preparing to use a nuclear weapon. We remain committed to the collective defense of the NATO alliance."

But the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons expressed far graver concern.

"Putin has reportedly declared that Russia will deploy nuclear weapons to Belarus. ICAN condemns this extremely dangerous escalation which makes the use of nuclear weapons more likely," the organization tweeted. "In the context of the war in Ukraine, the likelihood of miscalculation or misinterpretation is extremely high. Sharing nuclear weapons makes the situation much worse and risks catastrophic humanitarian consequences. This activity, hosting another country’s nuclear weapons, is prohibited under the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) which remains the only multilateral legal instrument to comprehensively ban any activity related to nuclear weapons. Any nuclear weapon use puts populations in grave danger and there is no humanitarian response mechanism in the world that can handle it. Countries that are serious about curbing the nuclear weapons threat must sign the TPNW to comprehensively condemn these weapons and, crucially, to make the use less likely."

READ MORE: 'Dangerous and reckless': Putin halts Russia’s participation in nuclear treaty with US

Oleksiy Danilov, the secretary of Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council, shared similar sentiments and blasted Putin's move as another sign of unwarranted aggression.

"Putin's statement about placing tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus – a step towards internal destabilization of the country – maximizes the level of negative perception and public rejection of Russia and Putin in Belarusian society. The Kremlin took Belarus as a nuclear hostage," Danilov wrote on Twitter.

"The latest information trend is talk about the 'only chance' and almost the last opportunity for Ukraine’s Defense Forces to conduct counteroffensive," he continued. "Our offensive will continue till the borders of 1991 and, like the fight for freedom, is not limited by time."

Putin and his allies have repeatedly rattled their nuclear saber since the February 24th, 2022 onset of their genocidal "special military operation" in Ukraine.

READ MORE: 'They will be afraid': Former Russian president threatens missile attack on ICC

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