MOSCOW, April 25. /TASS/. Russia could take certain asymmetric steps if the United States and NATO pursue escalation in the deployment of nuclear weapons in Europe, Vladimir Yermakov, director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Non-Proliferation and Arms Control Department, said in an interview with TASS.
"If the United States and NATO decide to escalate things further, we will assess the new risks to identify an [appropriate] response, including an asymmetric one," the diplomat said, when asked whether the West could deploy its nukes close to Belarus’ borders in the wake of Russia’s decision to station part of its nuclear arsenal on Belarusian soil.
Earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that, at Minsk’s request, Russia would station its tactical nuclear weapons in the neighboring country, precisely the way the United States has long kept its own nuclear warheads on the territories of its allies. According to Putin, Moscow has already transferred the nuclear-capable Iskander system to Minsk and is helping its Belarusian counterparts to refurbish their aircraft.
Earlier this month, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov rebuked the West for its hysteria over Russia’s plans to install storage facilities for such weapons in Belarus, while preferring to forget about the presence of US nukes in Europe.