White House Continues To ‘Monitor’ Russian Nukes After Putin Announced Plans To Put Weapons In Belarus

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Diana Glebova White House Correspondent
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The U.S. is “continuing to monitor” Russia’s likelihood of using nuclear weapons in its war on Ukraine, but hasn’t seen any “movement,” White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Monday. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced Saturday that Russia intends to put tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, a close ally that borders Ukraine, in July, according to Russian state-owned outlet TASS.

Kirby said Monday that despite Putin’s announcement, the Biden administration hasn’t seen “any movement of any tactical nuclear weapons or anything of that kind.”

“We certainly haven’t seen any indication that Mr. Putin has made some sort of decision to use weapons of mass destruction, let alone nuclear weapons, inside Ukraine,” Kirby said, according to CNN.

“We’re continuing to monitor this very, very closely,” Kirby added. “And still, we have seen nothing that would cause us to change our strategic deterrence posture.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) meets with his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence, outside Moscow, on February 17, 2023. (Photo by Vladimir Astapkovich / SPUTNIK / AFP) (Photo by VLADIMIR ASTAPKOVICH/SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images)

In his announcement, Putin argued that his decision is a response to the U.S. placing tactical nuclear weapons in European countries. (RELATED: Putin Announces Plans To Base Nuclear Warheads In Belarus)

“The United States has been doing this for decades. They placed their tactical nuclear weapons on the territories of their allied countries, NATO countries, in Europe a long time ago. In six states – these are the Federal Republic of Germany, Turkey, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy and Greece – well, in Greece there aren’t [tactical nuclear weapons] now, but there is a storage facility,” Putin said, TASS reported.

“And we agreed [with Belarus] that we will do the same. Without violating – I want to emphasize this – our international obligations on the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons,” Putin added.

Days after Russia invaded Ukraine, Belarus voted for a new constitution abandoning its non-nuclear status and allowing Russia to host nuclear weapons in its territory. Many international observers considered the constitutional referendum to have been rigged in Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko’s favor.