By Athena Papakosta

The urgent convening of the UN Security Council is requested by Ukraine after the agreement of the Russian president, Vladimir Putinby Alexander Lukashenko for deployment of tactical nuclear weapons on the territory of Belarus.

For Moscow, this decision of the Russian president is the Russian response to the ever-increasing military reinforcement of the West towards Kiev. Vladimir Putin himself, speaking on Saturday in a television interview, announced the agreement with Minsk, stressing that the reason for his decision was Britain’s intention to supply depleted uranium ammunition to Ukraine. At the same time, according to the Russian president, the United States has regularly deployed nuclear weapons in Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey.

“There is nothing unusual here: the United States has been doing this for decades. They have been developing their tactical nuclear weapons on the territory of their allies for a long time,” said the Russian president, adding that “we agreed to do the same, without violating our commitments. I emphasize, without violating our international commitments on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.”

According to what the Russian president said, the crews will begin training on April 3rd and on July 1st the construction of a special warehouse on the territory of Belarus will be completed without Moscow transferring control of the weapons to Minsk.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, Dimitry Kuleba, yesterday Sunday condemned the Putin-Lukashenko agreement and calling for blackmail by the Kremlin, requested the emergency convening of the UN Security Council. “The planet must remain united against that which endangers human civilization,” he emphasized in particular.

At the same time, NATO described Russia’s attitude as “dangerous and irresponsible”, emphasizing that it is “on alert” and that it is “closely monitoring the situation”. He added that “we have not seen any changes in the layout of Russia’s nuclear arsenal that would lead us to change ours”.

But there was also a reaction from the side of the European Union. The EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell, in his post on Twitter made it clear that “the development of Russian nuclear weapons in Belarus would mean an irresponsible escalation and a threat to European security” while he added that “Belarus can still stop, it’s her choice’ pledging that the EU is ready to respond with further sanctions.

For his part, Vladimir Putin emphasized that his Belarusian counterpart, Alexander Lukashenko, had long called for the deployment of nuclear weapons on his country’s soil to counter NATO. It is worth recalling that Russian troops attacked Ukraine from Belarus in the early hours of February 24, 2022 in an attempt to advance towards the Ukrainian capital, while it is also worth noting the geographical position of Belarus, which also borders Russia, Poland , Latvia and Lithuania.

With the new data on the table the development of nuclear weapons outside of Russia will happen for the first time in about 27 years as before the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 nuclear weapons were also developed on Ukrainian territory, Belarus and Kazakhstan with all nuclear warheads transferred back to Russian territory until 1996.

According to the Institute for the Study of War, however, the risk of a dangerous escalation into nuclear war remains extremely low. According to the Washington-based think tank, the Russian president is more interested in instilling fear to break Western military support for Ukraine than using nukes.