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Russia going tit-for-tat with West by putting nukes in Belarus — Italian expert

Stefano Vernole sees many advantages for Russia in the search for new partners in the East

ROME, March 27. /TASS/. Russia’s decision to deploy its tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus is a completely natural and symmetrical response to the West, which with its actions in Ukraine in effect pushed Moscow towards making such a decision, the Vice-President of the Center for Eurasian and Mediterranean Studies, Stefano Vernole, told TASS on Monday.

"This is a symmetrical response. Russian President Vladimir Putin has always acted this way since NATO began to expand to the East. In recent months, there has been much talk about the entry of Finland and Sweden into NATO. If Ukraine remains in the conditions preceding the special military operation, its territory will quite obviously be used by the US and Britain for military purposes. Russia cannot but react. Its natural response is to move its military facilities closer to the borders of Europe," Vernole said.

In his opinion, this further expands and emphasizes the "deep rift between the Western and Russian worlds."

Vernole sees many advantages for Russia in the search for new partners in the East.

"This, in my opinion, has positive aspects even for Russia’s cultural model," he said. At the same time, he believes that the Russian leader's policy of rapprochement with China frightens the West.

"The real goal of the Euro-Atlantic elite is to oust the Russian president, among other things, because of his policy of rapprochement with China, which is the main geopolitical adversary of the United States," the Italian expert said.

Vernole sees the deployment of tactical nuclear weapons as a security guarantee for Belarus, which "feels more secure after the obvious attempts at a color revolution" organized by its closest neighboring countries, including Poland.

On March 25, Putin declared that Russia, at Minsk’s request, would deploy its tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, precisely the way the United States deployed its own nuclear weapons on the territory of its allies. Moscow has already handed over to Minsk the nuclear-capable Iskander system. According to the Russian leader, the construction of a storage facility for tactical nuclear weapons on Belarusian territory would be completed on July 1.