Belarus on Thursday said the deployment of NATO troops near its border with neighboring countries signifies an “irresponsible escalation” amid the continuing war in neighboring Ukraine.
“Deployment of fresh NATO’s troops near the Belarus’ border & further Alliance’s enlargement in Northern Europe are an irresponsible escalation and key factors threatening European security,” the Belarusian Foreign Ministry said on its English-language Twitter account.
The statement came in response to EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell saying on Twitter that Belarus hosting Russian nuclear weapons would mean “an irresponsible escalation and threat to European security.”
“Belarus can still stop it, it is their choice. The EU stands ready to respond with further sanctions,” Borrell added about the recent announcement by Russia.
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on Saturday that Russia will complete the construction of a special storage facility for tactical nuclear weapons in neighboring Belarus, sparking fierce international criticism.
Putin said Moscow has already handed over Iskander missile systems, which can be used to launch nuclear weapons, to Belarus.
Belarus’ Foreign Ministry told Russian state news agency TASS on Tuesday said it is not violating any international non-proliferation agreements by hosting Russian nuclear weapons, arguing that the step was forced by years of pressure by the West.