Moscow on Nukes in Belarus: All Options on Table if NATO Refuses to Discuss Security Proposals
09:49 GMT 21.12.2021 (Updated: 10:29 GMT 21.12.2021)
Earlier in the month, Russia rolled out a set of security proposals to the West in order to de-escalate the situation near the Ukrainian border. Among these proposals are guarantees from NATO not to deploy offensive weapons in Eastern Europe and especially Ukraine.
All options, including the deployment of nuclear weapons in Belarus, will be considered in the event of NATO's refusal to discuss the security proposals
, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.
The ministry also underlined that sending US military personnel to Ukraine will escalate the situation, noting that Moscow hopes Washington understands the dangerous consequences of doing so.
"We believe that such steps will only lead to a further escalation of the situation around Ukraine, and in our relations with the West as a whole, including the United States. I believe that, after all, there are reasonable people in Washington who understand the full danger of such actions", Deputy Foreign Minister Andrey Rudenko told reporters.
Aside from this, Rudenko said that Russia sees no need to involve Ukraine in the negotiations with NATO and the United States on the security guarantees.
"So far, our draft agreements have been sent to only two sides - the United States and the North Atlantic Alliance. We did not send anything to Ukraine, but, of course, Ukraine is aware of it, like everyone else. At this stage, we do not see the need for their participation", he said.
Rudenko said that Moscow is waiting for an official response from the United States and NATO on the security proposals - which include the demand that NATO not put offensive weapons in the countries neighbouring Russia.
The West continues to accuse Russia of "amassing troops" in the vicinity of the Ukrainian border and "preparing to invade" its neighbour. Moscow, for its part, has repeatedly said that Russian troops move within the country's borders and do not pose a threat to anyone.
With tensions heating up, Belarusian officials warned Western countries that the Baltic States will be "swept off the face of the Earth" should a serious military conflict unfold in the region.
Belarusian Security Council deputy chief Maj. Gen. Vladimir Archakov accused the Baltic countries and other Western nations of aggravating regional tensions, particularly pointing to Washington's use of Polish airspace to conduct optical-electronic reconnaissance of Belarusian territory.
18 December 2021, 14:47 GMT
Earlier, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said that Minsk will suggest that Russia deploy nuclear weapons in Belarusian territory if NATO does the same in Poland.
Moscow has consistently underlined that it is up to the West to take action in order to de-escalate the situation and negotiate the security proposals that Russia rolled out last week, demanding that the NATO alliance give up the idea of placing offensive weapons in Eastern Europe.
While several states, like Norway
, have already blasted the security proposals as "completely unrealistic" and "unacceptable", others, like China
, welcomed them as something that could reduce the risk of conflict.
On Monday, the US announced that it is ready to engage in diplomacy with Russia
, stressing that the dialogue must be based on reciprocity and "address our concerns about Russia’s actions".