The US does not see any signs that Russia is gearing up to use its nuclear arsenal, Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said. His statement came after Moscow revealed that it had deployed the first tactical nuclear warheads to neighboring Belarus.
“We have no reason to adjust our own nuclear posture,” Blinken told reporters on Friday. “We don’t see any indications that Russia is preparing to use a nuclear weapon.”
The top US diplomat accused Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko of “making irresponsible, provocative choices” to allow Russia to station nuclear weapons on his country’s territory.
Earlier that day, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) that the first low-yield warheads had arrived in Belarus, which has a defense pact with Russia. Lukashenko said in the past that he had requested the deployment in order to strengthen his country’s security against NATO.
Discussions on the risks of nuclear war have become more prevalent among pundits and politicians in the wake of the current standoff between Russia and the West.
Sergey Karaganov, a prominent foreign affairs analyst and former adviser to Putin, caused a stir this week when he wrote an op-ed advocating for Russia to lower the bar for the use of nuclear weapons and consider a “preemptive” strike against unspecified Western countries.
Speaking at SPIEF, Putin said that there was “no need” for Russia to use tactical nuclear weapons at the moment. He reiterated that Moscow would only utilize its strategic arsenal when faced with an existential threat.