President of Belarus Alexander LukashenkoOn Thursday, he announced the beginning of the transfer of Russian tactical nuclear weapons to his countryIt shares a border with Ukraine, Russian mercenaries of the Wagner group began to withdraw from the eastern city of Pakmut.After announcing the capture last Saturday.
“I’m not going to reveal the number and its location. We agreed to deploy nuclear weapons: where, when, the presence of warships today is in question in a few days,” said Lukashenko, who was in Moscow to participate in the Eurasian Economic Union summit, and guaranteed the security of said weapons, Belarusians ” Careful people,” he asserted.
The head of state then noted that Russian President Vladimir Putin had informed him that he had signed a decree to that effect. The two countries’ defense ministers, Sergei Shoigu and Viktor Grenin, signed a series of documents in Minsk today regulating the storage of these weapons on Belarusian territory.
Both countries justify the move with the “extremely aggressive policy” of NATO countries on their borders.. “In the context of threats and a very strong expansion of the activities of the NATO joint nuclear mission, we are obliged to take retaliatory measures in the military-nuclear field,” stressed Russian Minister Shoigu. “Russia has not transferred nuclear weapons to the Republic of Belarus: control over them and the decision to use them remains with the Russian side,” he stressed.
Last March, the Kremlin leader announced a deal with his Belarusian rival to deploy tactical nuclear weapons in the neighboring country. In April, the Belarusian military received training in Russia on the use of special munitions for Iskander-M missiles and completed training on operating Su-25 attack aircraft capable of carrying tactical nuclear weapons.
Criticism of notification
White House He called the transfer of Russian tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus “irresponsible” but said they saw no indication that Russia was preparing to use them. “We see no reason to adjust our nuclear posture,” government spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre told a news conference. In turn, he promised that the US would continue to monitor the situation and stressed that the country was committed to defending NATO.
European Commission He questioned the announcement: “This is not a step towards expansion, it is a move that will only increase the tension that can be built against the backdrop of Russia’s illegal aggression and cooperation with Belarus,” the foreign spokesman noted. Community Administrator Peter Stano.
Belarusian protestor in exile, Svetlana Dzhanovskaya, condemned these actions as representing a threat to the entire European continent. “This not only endangers the lives of Belarusians, but also creates a threat to Ukraine throughout Europe,” Tzhanovskaya explained from her Twitter account. “It will make Belarusians hostage to Russian imperialist ambitions,” he added.
Lukashenko’s announcement coincided with the beginning of the withdrawal of mercenaries from the Wagner group from the Ukrainian city of Bagmut.. “We withdrew the Bakhmut units. Until June 1, most of them will settle in camps in the rear,” Yegueni Prigozhin, head of the Wagnerites, said Thursday in a video allegedly recorded amid the ruins of the city. And he added: “We are handing over everything to the army: posts, ammunition and even food.”
Prigozhin did not waste the opportunity to lash out at the Russian military leadership, which he has criticized and humiliated in recent months, saying he would spare two of his men if the army needed help to protect Bagmut. The withdrawal follows an incursion by militants from Ukraine into the Russian border region of Belgorod on Monday and Tuesday, which Moscow took more than 24 hours to repel, again highlighting the plight of Russian forces.
To capture the city, which required nine and a half months, the mercenaries paid a high price: 16,000 died, 10,000 of them convicts recruited from Russian prisons.Putin’s so-called “chef” agreed in an interview published on Wednesday.
For his part, Ukrainian authorities announced the release of 106 Ukrainian soldiers held prisoner in Pakmut in a swap operation.. “Some of those who returned from prison have been declared missing,” said the head of Ukraine’s presidential office. Andrei Yermak.
Officially, the Russian side did not confirm the exchange, and a video recorded from a drone was published on social networks, showing the exchange of prisoners on a road with several armored vehicles from both sides with large white flags.
Advisor to the Office of the President of Ukraine, Mijailo Podoliak, it was confirmed that the counterattack was already underway and that this type of operation had not begun with concrete action. “This is not a ‘one-off event’ starting at a specific time with a ribbon-cutting action,” Podoliak said on his Twitter account, repeatedly speculating when Ukraine would launch its next move. Territory occupied by Russia.
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