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Putin confirms that Belarus has nuclear weapons

The United States has not adjusted its nuclear posture after Russia deployed nuclear weapons in Belarus and condemned Russian President Vladimir Putin’s comments that Moscow could “theoretically” use nuclear weapons if its territorial integrity or existence is threatened.

U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said on Friday that Washington had not changed its nuclear stance, as Putin confirmed for the first time that Russia had deployed nuclear weapons in Belarus.

“We have no reason to adjust our nuclear posture. We have not seen any indication that Russia is preparing to use nuclear weapons,” Blinken said.

Blinken said it was “ironic” for Putin to place Russian nuclear weapons in Belarus when the Russian leader justified his invasion of Ukraine on the basis that he wanted to prevent Kiev from acquiring such weapons.

Speaking at Russia’s annual economic forum in St. Petersburg on Friday, Putin said Russia’s tactical nuclear warheads had been delivered to close ally Belarus, but stressed he saw no need for Russia to resort to nuclear weapons at this time.

“The first batch of nuclear warheads has arrived on the territory of Belarus. But only the first one, the first part. But we will finish this work by the end of summer or the end of the year,” Putin said.

The Russian leader said the deployment of the warheads – the first outside Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union – was aimed at warning the West not to arm and support Ukraine. He said the West is doing everything it can to inflict a strategic defeat on Russia in Ukraine.

“Precisely as a deterrent factor, all those who want to inflict strategic defeat on us will not forget this situation,” Putin said.

But, for now, there is no need for Russia to resort to nuclear weapons, he said, adding that negotiations with the West to reduce Russia’s massive nuclear arsenal would not work.

“Nuclear weapons are built to ensure our security and the existence of the Russian state in the broadest sense, but we … have no such need [to use them]said Putin.

“Just talking about this [the potential use of nuclear weapons] Lower the kernel threshold. We have more than NATO countries, they want to reduce our numbers. Fuck them,” he said.

Moscow’s deployment of tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus is part of a long-term effort to “consolidate Russia’s de facto military control over Belarus” but is unlikely to herald Russian escalation, the Washington, DC-based think tank Institute for War Research said on Friday.

“You can’t fight like that for long”

The Russian leader struck a defiant tone about his war in Ukraine, saying Kiev’s counteroffensive against Russian troops has so far not had any meaningful success, and that the Ukrainian army, which has suffered heavy losses, will soon deplete its own military equipment, leaving They are completely dependent on hardware. Provided by Western.

“There’s nothing left. The things they fight, the things they use, they bring in from outside. Well, you can’t fight like that for long,” he said.

Putin has focused on Western-supplied armor, such as German-made Leopard tanks, which he says are routinely destroyed by his army and would also be burned if Kiev gets American-made F-16 fighter jets from its allies. He also appeared to suggest that Russia would target such fighters outside of Ukraine.

“If they’re going to be based outside of Ukraine and used in combat operations, we’re going to have to look at how and where we engage those assets that are used in combat operations against us,” he said.

He added that targeting the F-16s outside Ukraine carried a “serious risk” of drawing NATO further into the conflict.

Late on Friday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said every meter of Ukrainian territory retaken from Russian forces was “vital” in the current counteroffensive.

“Every soldier, every new step we take, every meter of Ukrainian land liberated from the enemy counts,” Zelensky said in an evening video address following a meeting with top military commanders.

Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hannah Malial said earlier that troops were “moving aggressively and advancing in multiple directions simultaneously” at the front; in the south, troops advanced “2 kilometers (1.3 miles) in each direction”.

In eastern Ukraine, Malyar said Russian troops were trying to push Ukrainian troops out of established positions, while Ukrainian troops around the devastated city of Bakhmut were trying to push Russian troops out of the town’s outskirts.

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