The UN Security Council met on Friday, at the request of the United States and Albania, to discuss Russian President Vladimir Putin’s announcement on the planned deployment of tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus.
Russia’s decision to station tactical nuclear missiles in Belarus amid rising tension with the West over its invasion of Ukraine is its first deployment of nuclear weapons outside its borders since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
The deputy US ambassador to the United Nations, Robert Wood, accused Putin of “escalating Russia’s dangerous and destabilizing behavior” with his threat to deploy nuclear weapons in Belarus.
Russia’s UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told the council that Putin decided to “ensure the security of the Russian Federation and Belarus.”
Moscow’s strategic partner China did not specifically address Putin’s plans. China’s Deputy UN Ambassador Geng Shuang told the council that Beijing advocates “no deployment of nuclear weapons abroad by all nuclear weapons states and the withdrawal of nuclear weapons deployed aboard.”
Belarus said this week that the weapons would offer protection against what it called a campaign of pressure from the United States and its allies aimed at overthrowing Lukashenko, who has been in power for nearly three decades.
March 31st was the last day of the month when Mozambique chaired the Security Council. From April 1, the presidency passes to Russia. When Russia held the presidency in the council last time, the Kremlin launched a full-scale war against Ukraine.