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Moscow, Minsk have right to ensure security amid US’ actions — Russian Embassy

"The measures we undertake are fully consistent with our international legal obligations", the Russian Embassy in Washington said

WASHINGTON, May 27. /TASS/. Russia and Belarus have the right to ensure their own security, including by cooperating in the military-nuclear realm, amid a hybrid war unleashed against them by the US, the Russian Embassy in Washington said.

"We have noted increasingly frequent comments in recent days coming from White House and State Department concerning the Russia-Belarus military-nuclear cooperation. They once again accused us of ‘irresponsible and provocative’ behavior," the Russian diplomatic agency wrote on its Telegram channel on Friday.

"We would like to emphasize that it is the sovereign right of Russia and Belarus to ensure their security by means we deem necessary amidst of a large-scale hybrid war unleashed by Washington against us," its commentary said.

"The measures we undertake are fully consistent with our international legal obligations. As Minister of Defense, General of the Army Sergey Shoigu stated, Russia is not transferring nuclear weapons to Belarus: the control over them and decision on their use remain with the Russian side," the document stressed.

"Before blaming others, Washington could use some introspection. The United States has been for decades maintaining a large arsenal of its nuclear weapons in Europe. Together with its NATO allies it participates in nuclear sharing arrangements and trains for scenarios of nuclear weapons use against our country," the embassy noted.

On Friday, US President Joe Biden said that his reaction to the redeployment of Russian non-strategic nuclear weapons to Belarusian soil was "extremely negative." On Thursday, US State Department Spokesman Matthew Miller noted that the US saw no reason to review its strategic nuclear stance in connection with these reports. He condemned the agreement between Moscow and Minsk to store Russian tactical nuclear weapons at a facility in Belarus as "the latest example of [Russia’s] irresponsible behavior."

Earlier, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko told Channel One that the deployment of non-strategic nuclear arms from Russia to Belarus had already begun. On Thursday, Shoigu and his Belarusian counterpart Viktor Khrenin signed documents in Minsk defining the procedures for storing Russian nuclear weapons on Belarusian soil.

On March 25, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared that Russia, at Minsk’s request, would deploy its tactical nuclear weapons on Belarusian soil, precisely the way the US has deployed elements of its own nuclear arsenal on the territory of its allies. Moscow has already transferred the nuclear-capable Iskander system to Minsk and is helping its Belarusian colleagues to re-equip their aircraft accordingly.