EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on Sunday urged Belarus not to host Russian nuclear weapons, saying it could face further sanctions if it did.
“Belarus hosting Russian nuclear weapons would mean an irresponsible escalation and threat to European security. Belarus can still stop it, it is their choice. The EU stands ready to respond with further sanctions,” Borrell said in a tweet.
He added that Brussels was ready to impose new sanctions on Belarus if Minsk were to host Russian nuclear weapons.
Meanwhile White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said the United States had seen no sign that Putin had moved any nuclear weapons.
“We’ve in fact seen no indication that he has any intention to use nuclear weapons, period, inside Ukraine,” Kirby told US broadcaster CBS on Sunday.
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on Saturday that Moscow plans to station tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus.
Ukraine on Sunday called for an emergency meeting of the United Nation’s Security Council over Russia’s announcement that it would station tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus.
“Ukraine expects effective actions to counteract the Kremlin’s nuclear blackmail from the United Kingdom, China, the United States and France… We demand that an extraordinary meeting of the UN Security Council be immediately convened for this purpose,” the Ukrainian foreign ministry said.
Kyiv on Sunday said Russia was holding Minsk as a “nuclear hostage” after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the deployment of tactical nuclear weapons to ally Belarus.
“The Kremlin took Belarus as a nuclear hostage,” the secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council, Oleksiy Danilov, wrote on Twitter, adding that the move was “a step towards the internal destabilization of the country”.