'The sword of Damocles': China condemns Russian nukes along Belarus-NATO border

'The sword of Damocles': China condemns Russian nukes along Belarus-NATO border
image via Creative Commons.

Throughout Russia's invasion of Ukraine, U.S. President Joe Biden has promised to help Ukraine militarily but maintained that there will be no American “boots on the ground” in that country. Nonetheless, fears that the Ukraine/Russia war could escalate into a global conflict remain.

Some of the countries that share a border with Ukraine are members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), including Poland, Hungary and Romania. If Russia were to attack a NATO country, that could lead to an invocation of Article 5 — NATO's mutual defense system. Article 5 essentially says that an attack on one NATO country is an attack on all NATO countries.

Belarus also shares a border with Ukraine, but unlike Poland or Romania, it is not a member of NATO. And far-right Belarusian Prseident Alexander Lukashenko is a major ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who, on March 26, announced that Russia will place nuclear weapons in Belarus.

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

Fears that the Russia/Ukraine war could escalate into a global conflict are not limited to Europe. In Asia, Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi is worried about China helping Russia militarily.

Boris Gryzlov, Russia's ambassador to Belarus, told Belarusian state television that Russian nuclear weapons "will be moved to the western border of our union state and will increase the possibilities to ensure security."

Reuters reports, "Gryzlov did not specify where the weapons will be stationed, but confirmed that a storage facility will be completed, as ordered by Putin, by July 1 and then moved to the west of Belarus. Belarus borders to the north with Lithuania and Latvia and to west with Poland, all part of NATO's eastern flank that has been bolstered with additional troops and military equipment following Russia's invasion of Ukraine."

On Friday, March 31, according to Reuters, Lukashenko said that Belarus will let Russia place intercontinental nuclear missiles in Belarus if he decides it's necessary.

READ MORE:Why Putin may be trying to 'weaken' a 'paramilitary mercenary' group he hired to fight in Ukraine: report

Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reports that Hayashi voiced his concerns about the crisis in Eastern Europe during a visit to Mainland China and a meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang.

According to WSJ reporters Alastair Gale and Austin Ramzy, "Japan's foreign minister raised concerns in Beijing about increasing Russian and Chinese joint military activity on a day when Tokyo formally opened its closest missile base to China…. The accounts of Mr. Hayashi's visit, the first by a Japanese foreign minister to China in more than three years, suggested relations between Asia's two biggest economies remain frosty and beset by a range of disputes."

But Chinese official Geng Shuang, according to the Associated Press (AP), is expressing concerns about the presence of Russian nuclear weapons in Belarus. During a United Nations (UN) meeting on March 31, Shuang described nuclear weapons as "the sword of Damocles hanging over our heads." And Shuang warned that "nuclear proliferation must be prevented and nuclear crisis avoided."

Despite China's alliance with Putin, Sergiy Kyslytsya — Ukraine's ambassador to the UN — was glad to see Shuang speaking out and told fellow UN officials, "To the credit of the Chinese side, the Chinese side reminded Moscow, in a very sensible manner, that nuclear war cannot be won and fought, and that nuclear proliferation must be prevented."

READ MORE:'Obsessed with taking Ukraine': Robert Gates believes Vladimir Putin 'will hang in there' despite heavy losses

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